Google hires team behind cleaning startup to help find you a plumber

This morning, Homejoy, an on-demand cleaning service startup in San Francisco, announced that it would be shutting down on July 31st. CEO Adora Cheung told Re/Code that the decision came about in large part due to four ongoing lawsuits brought against the company by workers who wanted to be reclassified as employees. This, in combination with the recent uptick in scrutiny over the on-demand "gig economy," has made it a lot harder to raise enough funding to keep business afloat, according to Cheung. But before Homejoy can even start licking its wounds, Re/Code reports that Google has already swooped in to hire some of Homejoy's engineers for its own upcoming home-services program.

For the uninformed, Homejoy was a service that matched users with professional cleaners. Though it hasn't been confirmed, it appears that Google seeks to do very much the same thing -- not just with cleaners, but plumbers, electricians, handymen and all manner of home-service providers. The idea, according to Buzzfeed sources, is that you'll just search for "plumber" in Google, and it'll connect you directly to the people you want instead of redirecting you to a variety of third-party sites like it does now. In essence, it appears that Google is seeking to create a competitor similar to Angie's List or Amazon Home Services.

While some of Homejoy's employees have a second chance thanks to the crew over at Mountain View, its fall from grace does raise some concerns over whether other "gig economy" startups will have the same fate. Not only has presidential candidate Hillary Clinton brought the worker classification issue to light, even the Department of Labor has jumped in the fray and published a brief explainer outlining the differences between an employee and an independent contractor. It's unclear if Uber and its ilk will face similar challenges, but hey, maybe Google has a ridesharing alternative in the works to save the day.

Update: We've heard confirmation from Google that a portion of the Homejoy team is indeed joining its ranks. It has nothing to share beyond that.