As Google’s entry into the U.S. auto insurance industry drew closer, predictions for what exactly would emerge varied wildly. Some even feared an all-new Google insurance company that threatened to use its superior data and analytics resources to overwhelm insurers.

What did emerge, however, was the Google Compare auto insurance aggregator — currently only available in California, but built on the successful model the company has run in the U.K. for several years. Now, carriers look to Google as a partner — at least in the short term — and appreciate the brand’s reach and ease-of-use as a weapon in the customer-acquisition war raging in an increasingly commoditized and competitive sector.

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