Google has launched a new food delivery and home services aggregator the India market. Called Areo, the app allows users to order food delivery and home services from their smartphones.
The app’s description goes as follows – “Food delivery from your favorite restaurants, providers, and chefs. Home services from local electricians, painters, cleaners, plumbers and more.”
Areo lets users search for local restaurants and businesses like electricians, plumbers, and painters, and schedule their deliveries or appointments through the app. The app is available as a free download on the Google Play store and is currently operational in Bengaluru and Mumbai only, and for Android devices. The app support will be eventually rolled out to other cities of the country in the upcoming days.
Essentially, Areo is aggregator kind of app with all the food delivery and home services apps under one roof.
While Google’s clearly gone ahead with a soft launch, it seems to have big plans in store for the Areo. “One app, thousands of local goods and services,” is how the company is choosing to market Areo, and it already seems to have some partners in place. The app allows users to place orders through Freshmenu, Faasos and Box8; other categories like beauty and repairs seem to be serviced mainly by UrbanClap. Users can combine orders from different companies within the same order, and which are then separately delivered by the respective companies.
And there’s already interest around Areo – several users on the Play Store have asked Google to bring the app to their areas, and the app currently has a 4.1 rating.
Google has been bullish on India as a market in the last two years. At the second edition of its signature Google for India event last September, Google had announced five new products that were tailored for expanding access to the Internet for Indian users.
These comprised new products built specifically for India, such as YouTube Go, the Google Assistant in Hindi for Allo, faster browsing for Google Play on 2G connections, as well as new, global platforms inspired by the needs of Indian users such as the Google Station WiFi platform and new data-saving features in Google Chrome for mobile.
In a similar move, Facebook had also quietly introduced a local services website in India last April to help customers discover the best-rated service providers in their vicinity. Users could opt for services including arts and marketing, automotive, business services, financial services, event planning, home improvement, lifestyle, medical and health, pet services, spa, beauty and personal care by logging on to facebook.com/services.
Hyperlocal services are a rage in India in the last few years. As per Inc42 Datalabs, over 400+ startups entered the hyperlocal market from 2011 to 2016, 193 of them were funded and raised more than $1 Bn in funding in total, and 100+ shut down. Cash burn and high customer acquisition cost were the main reasons behind the demise of many a startup in this segment.
In the food delivery segment, competition continues between Zomato, Swiggy, Foodpanda and a few others. Zomato recently declared its results for FY2017, indicating its inching close to profitability, as it witnessed an 81% drop in the annual operating burn for FY17 at $12 Mn compared to the $64 Mn in FY16.
A Google spokesperson said they are currently not charging partners for this service but they are yet to respond to our queries on how these partners were selected or do they plan to charge these partners in the future.