Google seems to be into everything these days, but did anyone expect them to branch into home food delivery? Google won’t be knocking on your door with a pizza anytime soon, but they are making it even easier for you to connect with those who can. They have teamed up with six food delivery services nationwide — Seamless, BeyondMenu, MyPizza.com, Grubhub, Eat24, and Delivery.com — to allow for food delivery directly through a Google restaurant search.
When you use your mobile phone to search for a particular restaurant, any restaurant that uses these services will display a "Place an Order" option within the search results. Selecting that link will allow you to choose the delivery service you prefer, and you'll be sent to the website to make your selections and finalize your order. The service began on May 7th and was announced – where else? -- via a Google post.
This effort represents another bit of Google brilliance in creating symbiotic relationships. Google can provide this service without any infrastructure investment. The delivery services already exist and have massive incentive to collaborate with Google to make the use of their service even more convenient and available to a larger audience. Delivery services are already facing stiff competition within their own field as everybody from Uber to third-party novices is using technology to carve out a niche in local food delivery markets, so an extra advertising presence is welcomed.
Google has made the process simple and seamless by introducing the service as a simple step within Google, then connecting to the website separately for order completion. Restaurants benefit by not having to pay the overhead in maintaining their own delivery services. Theoretically, the proliferation of services will entice more eateries to join the delivery bandwagon and provide an even wider range of meals to consumers.
Google has already announced that they plan to partner up with more food delivery services in the future, and it seems likely that these services will be competing to align with Google and gain an advantage in their local markets. It’s not clear yet what the effect will be on vendors such as Domino's and Jimmy John's, whose business model is built on delivery. These vendors have maintained the necessary delivery infrastructure (and in some cases, created their own mobile apps for direct ordering).
Oddly enough, the service is currently only available on mobile devices and not on home computers — devices that you're more likely to be using when you're actually at home. The blog post did not mention whether Google plans to expand the service to computers, but it seems reasonable to target mobile devices first. Mobile devices and take-out food both cater heavily to the young adult demographic.
Predictably, this service is far more common in heavily populated urban areas. However, the overall convenience makes it likely that services will expand to mid-sized and smaller cities throughout the US. It may be impractical for many rural areas, but it's possible that there are niches within the rural markets where Google can find a sufficient food delivery partner.
It's hard to predict what the next level of dining convenience will be. Who knows — perhaps one day Google will offer a service where somebody literally feeds your meal to you!