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google food delivery

Google Food Delivery: Skip the Middleman

Last week, Google integrated options for food delivery into Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Search. As of March 23, 2018, Google is leveraging the databases of existing food delivery companies to service customers’ orders.

WHAT IS GOOGLE FOOD DELIVERY BRINGING TO THE TABLE?

Centralized payments without willy wallying your way through countless apps, food delivery straight from Google Search as opposed to websites, and Google Assistant integration make Google’s foray into the food sector sound like a dream. But for Pakistan’s consumers, there’s a catch (for now).

Google Search users on the prowl for restaurants and delivery companies (ChowNow, Delivery.com, DoorDash, Postmates, and Slice, to name a few) will find themselves pleasantly surprised when they see a button to “Order Online” when searching up a restaurant that has opted to be part of the ecosystem.

WHERE IS GOOGLE FOOD DELIVERY AVAILABLE?

Pakistan is currently not included in the supported countries; the service is limited to users in the US and India for now, but we expect this to change in the near future. More surprising, however, is the omission of Uber Eats, Deliveroo, GrubHub, and Foodpanda from the program. This is also likely to change in the upcoming months.

OPTIONS, OPTIONS, OPTIONS

Pickup and delivery of meals are both supported, and users may then select their preferred delivery company to complete the order. Last but not least, the integration of Google Pay means an umbrella payment account makes things all the more… palatable.

google food delivery

Source: Google

THE EXPERIENCE

For Google Assistant, on both iOS and Android phones (no word on peripherals like smart speakers), the process is straightforward. Users prompt Google Assistant to order from a restaurant of their choice (if it has opted in); the assistant pulls up Google’s new ordering interface and forms, marking the transition from voice to touch; users then complete the order by selecting the delivery choices most suitable for them. Repeating a previous order? Skip the touch because Google Assistant can do that for you without a problem.

THE IMPLICATIONS

So how does Google’s power play impact your next Foodpanda order? More importantly, what does this mean for the global food delivery industry?

Customers of Foodpanda, Cheetay, Eat Mubarak, and the likes will not have Google’s food delivery integrations available to them – yet. Google began the rollout for large US and India based food delivery aggregators (see above), but that doesn’t mean Foodpanda is not on their radar. We’d give it a few months at the least and a year tops before it blows your mind too.

You may think that this is a win-win situation for everyone. It’s not. Food delivery vendors and aggregators will probably find themselves with more orders because of Google’s superior interface and centralization, and while Google may find itself making a killing in terms of bolstering its ecosystem, there is a loser in there somewhere. That loser could be social media.

Here’s what (a simplified version of) marketing for food aggregators looks like: social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are used to generate leads for websites and order forms, coupled with considerable Google Adwords spending to outbid the competition.

With this ‘revolutionary’ change, Google can potentially cut into the social media budgets of food delivery aggregators as they look to spend more on Google’s platform to secure potentially higher conversions. If this theory holds true, social media platforms will be on the spot to develop similar one-stop solutions for people. But that’s for a separate post.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE

Google is not new to innovation and sustainability in food. Recent announcements and developments by the tech giant include but are not limited to Google Duplex for restaurant reservations (only on Pixel devices for now), Google Lens integration for menus, and has saved over 6 million pounds of food items from ending up in a landfill.

How’s that for an impression?

Here’s a breakdown of the ordering process.

 

Shameel finds himself being careless when trying to be carefree and eating nuggets when he wants to be fat-free. He’s an ‘overall picture’ kinda guy even though he seems to want to micromanage people taking out the trash. You’ll probably find him starry-eyed in the conference room, still explaining a ‘revolutionary’ idea that was shot down last week.

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