Google is getting into the restaurant delivery and home services businesses – nope, not in the U.S., but rather in parts of India. The company has quietly launched a new app called Areo which currently only works in Bangalore and Mumbai, India, allowing users to order meals from nearby restaurants or schedule appointments with local service professionals, including electricians, painters, cleaners, plumbers, and more.
The app was first spotted by The Android Soul blog, then confirmed with Google by The Economic Times.
Areo popped up on the Google Play Store on April 12, 2017, where the company briefly explains how the product works. The idea is to consolidate both food delivery and home services in a single app, where you can search for dishes or restaurants – even filter by vegetarian options – or book appointment times with local pros. Users can also pay in the app, the description indicates, via card, netbanking, or cash on delivery.
With Areo, Google is basically acting as the middleman – that is, it’s not running its own food delivery or home services business, but is rather working with service providers in the area.
Launch partners include UrbanClap and Zimmber on the home services side, and Freshmenu, Box8 and Faasos for food ordering, The ET reports. For payments, it’s working with TimesofMoney’s DirecPay, but not Android Pay, oddly, they also discovered.
Google said it isn’t yet charging its partners for the service, but rather characterized Areo as an experiment.
This isn’t Google’s first time in the delivery space, however. The company continues to operate its rapid-delivery service Google Express in the U.S., which delivers items from stores like Costco, Walgreens, Toys R Us, Petsmart, Whole Foods and several others. That service has had its ups and downs, however, as Google rethought the model. For example, last fall Google announced it was killing the part of the business that would deliver perishables.
Google also isn’t the only major tech company to try to make ordering home services something that can be done from your phone. Amazon, too, operates a Home Services business where customers can search and book with area pros for things like home theater installation, home improvement, assembly, house cleaning, lawn care, and more.
The Areo app is live on the Google Play Store, but only available in the above cities in India. Google has not announced its plans to bring it to other markets at this time.