Update: Google has posted information about this service in the forum.
Google has started rolling out the ability for searchers to directly book a table, order or make an appointment via mobile Google search and Google Maps. Previously there had been links to some of these services like OpenTable but now the user can complete the reservation directly via the Google interface.
Currently Google is working with a limited number of partners to provide the services. If a business is currently signed up for OpenTable for example then the table reservation feature will appear automatically on their mobile page at Google. It is rolling out, so while I found the process currently available in Google Maps for some restaurants it was not yet available on Safari for the same restaurant. The current list of partner sites includes Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com and apparently OpenTable.
If you operate an online service that allows local businesses to directly accept online orders, appointments, reservations or other similar services Google has included this form for your site to express an interest in participating. Google has indicated that they will add more partners gradually. The Help Page can be found here.
This strategy of integrating transaction partners at various point in the search cycle seems to be Google’s preferred tactic for creating transactional capabilities (as opposed to them doing this themselves). This keeps their current advertising opportunities intact and provides additional abilities to deliver cost per transaction type products.
Google has now posted additional details in the forum:
Local searchers will soon see an option to Place an order on some local restaurant results from Google Search. On eligible restaurant searches, users will be able to tap Place an order, then choose a delivery service, and then be taken to their website to place an order. Please see our announcement on Google+ or our Help Center for more information.
Where will this be visible?
The Place an order option will only show up for some local searches. Additionally, right now, it will only appear in the US, on mobile, but we are planning on expanding its availability soon.
Where is the content coming from?
Right now, content is from the following partners: Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com. We’ll add more partners gradually. Content partners can express interest in joining the program using this form.
Can a business owner add a custom action link or request inclusion?
No, right now, business owners cannot add custom links. If a business has an existing relationship with one of our content partners, action links to that partner should appear for that business.
Can a business owner request the removal of an action link?
Merchants can reach out to our merchant support (HC link) and our support staff will assist in removing the action link from their business listing.
What if multiple providers have content for the same business?
If ordering from a restaurant is possible via more than one provider, the results will include all providers — when you tap the “Place an order” link, all available merchants will show.Google Rolls Out Mobile Local business orders and appointments by Mike Blumenthal