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Google Targets Fast-Growing Delivery Sector With New Maps Venture

Google is getting into the booming delivery business, albeit though a side door.

Google Maps Platform on Thursday (Oct. 22) unveiled a new service for ridesharing and delivery companies.

It builds on an earlier venture, launched in 2018, that Google describes as “an initial ridesharing solution for in-app navigation.”

This time, though, delivery companies, instead of being an afterthought, are front and center as the developer side of Google Maps rolls out its new delivery and ridesharing-friendly platform.

The move comes as the delivery business expands rapidly amid a surge in demand in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“On-demand deliveries have grown exponentially since the pandemic began — going from a convenience, to a necessity for many consumers,” Eli Danziger, group product manager for Google Maps Platform, said in a blog post announcing the new service. “We’ve worked closely with the largest operators in the space to identify new ways to address the rapidly evolving needs of on-demand rides and deliveries companies.”

According to Google, key features of the new solution include Routes Preferred, which displays a driver’s ETA, expected route and estimated trip prices on a Google map; Nearby Drivers, which gives users information on the closest driver to a pickup location; and In-App Navigation, which “improves the driver experience by reducing inefficiencies and distractions caused by switching from the driver app to a navigation.” In addition, Trip & Order Progress allows drivers to “keep customers informed from pickup to drop-off or delivery, with a real-time view of a driver’s current position, route, and ETA.”

The last item is of particular interest to companies in the hotly competitive delivery sector.

Google’s product announcement includes as quote from Brijesh Bharadwaj, director of product at Dunzo.

“After implementing Trip & Order Progress through Google Maps Platform, our support tickets related to being able to track the delivery after placing the order dropped by a massive 90%!” Bharadwaj stated.

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