Google wants to make ordering takeaway effortless. Depending on whether you run a restaurant, or are developing an app to help people place orders at restaurants, you might view this news in a couple of different ways.
It's been obvious for a while now, but Google isn't interested in just being a search provider. Google want's to become the be all, end all for online services and the newest addition to its arsenal comes in the form of takeaways.
No, Google isn't aiming to open its own pizzeria or delicious Turkish mangal, it's now allowing you to order takeaway food near seamlessly on your mobile. According to Google's own Google+ post, when you search for a nearby restaurant Google will now serve up a link for you to "Place an order". Tapping it allows you to pick a delivery service and then you can complete your order through the service's website.
Currently Google's new service only works in the US, partnering up with Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com. However, it's not hard to believe the service could make the leap across the Pacific to Australia.
While the proposed system should realistically benefit food ordering services, there could be a negative impact as people pick the easiest option presented to them.
It's unclear how Google could go about regulating its list of delivery partners. Judging from Google's past experiments with Shopping and advertised listings, it's quite possible partners would need to pay extra to hit the top spot in “Place an order” listings. Those who don't wish to do so would sit further down the list, relying on brand image to entice taps.
It's also worth looking at Google's potential plans for the service. With Google Wallet still kicking about, albeit not in quite the same form it used to have, Google has the ability to funnel mobile payments directly through its payments system. This could see a future ordering prospect where you don't even place an order through a partner website, instead completing your entire order on Google itself.
If we look at the current model for online takeaway ordering services, it's clear to see how Google could easily muscle in on the space if it wanted to. These services act as little more than a directory of nearby takeaways, providing the user with an online version of a restaurant's menu and the ability to pay for the meal when ordering. Google could easily replicate this system, handling orders and payments through its own services and passing order information on to a takeaway for confirmation and delivery.
If Google's mobile takeaway ordering service did go down this route it could be good news for Aussie restaurants, but a troubling development for, well, developers. It's hard to say if Google would want to take such a gamble, but as it's restricted to mobile only it's easy to argue that users could just use a mobile app instead of a Google search. Personally, if the market is lucrative enough, it's hard to see Google shying away from pouncing on the opportunity.