Ordering takeout food for delivery is hardly a strenuous task, but Google has just found a way to make things even easier. Thanks to new partnerships with Doordash, Postmates and Delivery.com, it's now possible to arrange for food to be delivered from the comfort of Google Maps, Google Search or the Google Assistant (provided you live in the right place).
If you're looking for somewhere to deliver food to your door, Maps or Search are probably going to be your first port of call. Google has simplified the ordering processing by removing the need to visit the website of the restaurant whose food you crave, or to use a dedicated food delivery app – all you need is your Google account and you're good to go.
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When you look for a particular restaurant or a certain type of food in Search or Maps, you'll see a new ‘Order now’ button next to participating food outlets. It then just takes a few more clicks or taps to choose what you want from the menu, and specify a delivery or pickup time to suit you.
When you place your order, you'll be advised of minimum order limits, the price of any extras, and how much delivery costs if you don't want to pick up your food in person.
No credit card? No problem
Android and iOS users have it even easier thanks to integration with the Google Assistant. There's no need to search for a restaurant, just bark out 'Hey Google, order food from xxx', and you can start placing an order. You'll have to browse through the menu and make your selection from the menu by hand. But you can go hands-free if you have a favourite dish that you like to order time and time again.
You can say 'Hey Google, reorder food from xxx' and make a selection from things you have ordered previously. There's no need to even pick up your phone, because re-ordering can be entirely voice-controlled.
There is, of course, support for Google Pay to make payments quick and simple, eliminating the need to go hunting for a credit card. With everything kept within the Google ecosystem, life is made much easier for those who have welcomed the company into their world. But at the same time, it will likely fuel concerns about how deeply integrated Google is becoming in people lives and the implications this could have on privacy.
For now, the food delivery scheme includes DoorDash, Postmates, Delivery.com, Slice and ChowNow, and Google says that these will be joined by Zuppler and others soon. At the moment, the service is limited to cities in the US, and ordering food with Google Assistant is a mobile-only experience.
Google hasn't said when, or if, the feature will arrive on smart speakers and smart displays that support Assistant. The company has also said nothing about when, or if, the new ordering options will spread to other parts of the world.