Online ordering just got lazier: Google integrates services into search results

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As if it weren’t easy enough to order out already (at least if you live near a big metro), Google’s streamlining the process even further with new web functionality announced yesterday. In a blog post that gives ample motivation to cancel your next grocery trip outright, the folks at Mountain View announced the integration of a handful of popular delivery apps — Grubhub, Seamless, Eat24, Delivery.com, MyPizza, and BeyondMenu among them — directly into Google search results.

It works rather simply: just type in the name of favorite local joint and, if it participates in one of the covered online ordering services, a related link will arise. Clicking on it will pull up the familiar ordering screen.

While this is admittedly more labor-saving than revolutionary — you could just load up the app or website yourself, after all — the integration does save you the trouble of parsing the listings yourself. And one less barrier in the way of an an oh-so-delicious reprieve from anytime hunger pangs can’t, in my humble opinion, possibly be a bad thing.

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Both Google and the delivery start-ups have a lot to gain from the integration. Search results will now funnel more traffic directly to the burgeoning delivery apps while at the same time generating valuable, actionable data for Google (which could someday tailor ads based on your ordering and cuisine preferences, for instance).

When it comes to scraping restaurant info, this isn’t Google’s first rodeo. Last year, it started showing menus complete with entrée pricing, and placed tabs for menus in search results. That feature has quietly expanded to more chains and independent restaurants over the past few months, but isn’t quite perfect — the odd omission here and there can make it less useful than it should be. Luckily, the new ordering links seem to work just fine.

The new integration’s now live on mobile and Web. Don’t worry if you don’t see your go-to ordering app at first — Google says it’ll expand the integration’s reach soon. That might be a blessing in disguise — I, for one, need to prepare my pocketbook and gut for the torrent of food to come.

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