If Google had its way, you would never leave its search results page. Google Search is now far more than just an index - you can see store opening hours, read reviews and make calls without ever leaving the page. But wait, there's more!
In the U.S. you can now order takeout or delivery from your favorite restaurants directly from the Google Search page.
When you search for a nearby restaurant, below the results there is now a "Place an Order" button below each result which allows you get food from Seamless, GrubHub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com. Users tap the button and then are given a choice of delivery providers for that restaurant, and then redirected to their chosen delivery provider's website to complete the order.
Google said in a short blog post announcing the upgrade it was starting with just the six delivery service providers but hoped to add more in future. The feature is obviously aimed at mobile customers for whom an extra click can be a serious inconvenience.
Prior to the update, restaurant search results already included menus and phone numbers, so this is the obvious next step for Google. If you search for a restaurant and then call on your phone you are leaving the Google ecosystem and the company doesn't know what you order or if you even complete the call. By getting people to complete their orders online Google knows what type of restaurants and food you like as well as your favorite delivery service. The kind of data that is pure gold to advertisers.
The service providers are on board, too, as the deal will surely drive more traffic their way. Despite the recent boom in online food ordering, the vast majority of orders are still made over the phone. According to data compiled from Wall Street research reports and public company filings by TechCrunch, the takeout and delivery market in the U.S. is worth a staggering $70 billion and only $9 billion of this, or about 13 percent, is online.
That leaves a lot of room to grow for the likes of Seamless and GrubHub. With that kind of money up for grabs it's no surprise that Google is looking to get involved.