The process of platforms turning into service providers is now gaining momentum, globally. The modus operandi is pretty simple, but incredibly interesting: First hook on the user with your platform, and then once it becomes a habit, offer services which the user is about to order elsewhere.
Google and Facebook, two giant platforms in search and social media niche respectively, has now added more service offerings into their eco-system, thereby offering even more options to the end users, and convincing them to remain on their platform.
While Google has enabled booking of Ola, Uber cabs directly from the search result pages on mobile, Facebook has enabled food ordering and ticket bookings directly from Facebook pages.
Will platforms permanently turn into service providers in the coming days? The trend seems so..
Google: Book Uber, Ola Directly From Mobile Search Results
In case you happen to search keywords like “Taxi to airport <city name>” on your mobile, then brace for a surprise: You can now directly book an Uber or Ola from the Google search result pages.
As seen here, Google will now inform the user about the availability of cabs, besides estimating the fare. Once clicked, the user will be shown booking options, which will directly take you to the concerned app of the cab aggregator. In case the app is not installed, Google will showcase the link to download the same.
Hence, first time users of taxi apps would be easily converted, with the help of Google.
Sanket Gupta, Program Manager at Google said, “Choosing the best transit option can be a task at times, our aim is to help users simplify their everyday travel. With this, users will be able to order, explore and make quick comparisons about the best estimated taxi fare directly from Google Search results on their mobile”
At the same time, Google has introduced a new feature in their ‘Flights’ tool, which will answer the most important question for a traveller: What is the best time to book a flight?
This new feature has been powered by AI and tons of historical flight data available with Google to estimate the flight prices, and inform the user about the optimal time to book a flight for any destination.
For example, from now, Google Flights will let the user know that if they don’t book Flight # 6E-777 on November 5th, then they can lose Rs 5000 on that flight.
Such type of predictive pricing for flights is not available with any travel app provider as of now, including Skyscanner, Hopper, Hitlist or Kayak.
Facebook Enables Food Ordering, Ticket Bookings From Pages
Further empowering Pages, Facebook has now enabled bookings of food and tickets, directly from the Business Pages. This will enable to business owner to consolidate their efforts on Page, and makes the use of website redundant than ever.
Launched in US initially, this service would soon roll out to other parts of the world.
To start with, Facebook has collaborated with Delivery.com and Slice; hence any food outlet which uses Delivery.com or Slack can enable direct food ordering within US from their Facebook page.
The same arrangement has been with Fandango for booking movie tickets.
Besides, users can now also book appointments for salon, or massage via Pages, and get quotes from local businesses based on your location.
Earlier, Facebook had launched the option of receiving payments directly via Messenger using bots. Few days back, in yet another step to make their platform stronger, Facebook had launched their own version of a local marketplace, combining features of Craigslist, eBay and Amazon.
Similarly, to make their eco-system more diverse, and powerful, Google had extended Play Store Carrier Billing to Airtel and Vodafone; and had started direct selling via their mobile search result pages and offered curated fashion products. They have already integrated food ordering from Zomato, Swiggy, Dineout and BytPlus via their search result pages.
Do you think that by enabling such service oriented features, such massive platforms like Google and Facebook can create their own monopoly over service sector? In future, they can even control the prices, and charge money to list the services?
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