Google officially has you covered when ordering food online, whether you prefer to search for what you want, look for local greasy spoons on Maps, or just let Assistant handle it. All you have to do is look for the "Order Online" button in Maps and Search, and you'll be able to make your selections in a few short steps, then pay with Google Pay, if you've got it set up. The process is even more seamless on Assistant, where participating services and restaurants will be presented to you.
If you've got Google Pay and your address set up for use with Assistant, you can simply tell Assistant what restaurant you want food from. The rest of the process goes as easy if you've got a friend in the room taking your order before they head out, and Assistant will send over the order and have it at your door in minutes. You can even skip the choosing and simply ask Google to reorder food from your favorite restaurant, and it will give you a list of your recent orders so you can pick which one to repeat.
Naturally, you don't have to know what restaurant you want to order from in order to start the process. You can search or ask Assistant for what kind of food you're thinking about, whether it's a region or a certain genre, and Google will present you a listing of local cuisine that fits the bill. From there, you can pick a dish or a restaurant to see your options, and finish out your order from there. After that, the process goes just as seamlessly as it would have if you'd named a restaurant from the start.
A number of online ordering services are already on board, including DoorDash, Postmates, Slice, and Zuppler, among others. Naturally, Google is trying to get even more services linked up and available for its users. The good news is that this new feature goes directly through those services, so even if a particular restaurant doesn't advertise working with Google, so long as it goes through one of the participating services, things will work out fine.
Essentially, Google passes off your order to the participating service for processing, and on the restaurant's end, it won't appear any different from the average DoorDash or Slice order. That also means that there are no long regional rollouts to worry about; if you've got a participating service operating where you are, which is quite likely given the list of services already on board, you're good to go.
Google has found yet another way to make itself useful, and yet another way to gather customers' data. The privacy-minded will likely see this as a double-edged sword, though it goes without saying that Google probably already had a good idea of many users' food preferences just from seeing their searches. This change allows transactions that would normally happen on other services, final transactions that lead to food at the door, to happen within Google's wheelhouse. That means the service goes from knowing what restaurants and food services you frequently look for to knowing exactly what you eat. Even so, most people who've been okay with using Google services so far won't find much to worry about here.