Google Ventures into Indian Hyperlocal space with Areo
2015 saw many new startups emerging in the Hyperlocal space in India. At that time, Hyperlocal startups were the hottest trend. But the end of 2015 brought an end to this trend also as 2016 saw a 93% drop in Hyperlocal startups.
According to Inc42 report, Almost 25% of the total Hyperlocal startups have shut down and 10% have merged or acquired by big players in the market. The rest of them are struggling with “wafer-thin” profit margins and the pressure of delivering on time. While you might say that the “Hyperlocal bubble” has burst, Google will beg to differ.
Google has very discreetly launched “Areo” app on April 12, 2017 in India. With Areo, Google aims at creating a single platform for various services like food delivery, home services, etc. You can order food, call a plumber; get your home cleaned, etc. all on one platform.
Areo is live in Mumbai and Bangalore for now. Google has got Faasos, Freshmenu and Box8 on board for food delivery. And for beauty, home and repairs, they have collaborated with Urban Clap for now.
Areo was launched without any media hype or announcement. Google has not even released a press release announcing the app. One reason about the silent launch could be the failure of its much-hyped chat apps Allo and Duo. Allo and Duo were launched to counter Whatsapp but couldn’t achieve their goal.
It is worth mentioning that Areo has been launched at a time when various Hyperlocal startups are either shutting down or struggling to survive. At this crucial point, the launch of Areo only adds to the woes of these struggling Hyperlocal startups. With huge financial and technological backing, Areo can prove to be a fierce competition to these startups.
One can’t resist but wonder what Google’s plans with Areo are. Is it trying to fill in the void that has been created by the shutting down of startups? Or is it trying to disrupt the Hyperlocal market by bringing in innovative business models. Now only time will tell what is in store for the one day old Areo?