As a winelover, and as winemaker Doug Margerum once quipped, the "ultimate wine insider," when I was writing a wine column in San Diego, I think the online world for wine discovery and sales has helped boost more wine brands than it has been given credit for. Back in the early part of the decade my agency helped launch Vivino and to this day I remain a fan as it has set out to be the ultimate wine discovery app. But I see the writing on the wall, or I should say, Map.
With Google adding photo sharing of menu items inside Maps it just changed the game and in doing so has really put the long term hurt on all speciality category discovery apps like Vivino as well as their shopping model.
- Google is the #1 search engine
- Google Maps and Waze are 1 & 2
- Google Shopping -while not yet a top ten site, it is a tab inside search
- Google Cloud
- Google Photos
- Google Voice for notifications
When you pull all the pieces together much of what apps and sites like Vivino have to pull together using a combination of some cloud provider, usually AWS or Microsoft's Azure, not to mention Google Cloud, plus other services for security, authentication, notification, shopping cart, CRM- yes the list goes on and on you realize that the scale at which Google already has all the pieces is downright mind-boggling.
Already Google with their "Reserve" service system is working with Michelin's Bookatable for restaurants, which will take on the giants OpenTable and The Fork. So when those restaurants upload their wine lists (and beer, and spirits) to the service, and then a dinner guest snaps a photo of their dinner wine and writes a tasting note, gives it a score, ranks the sommelier for wine service, etc., you have the start of Vivino's challenge. Now extend this to wine shops, supermarkets, etc., tie in some loyalty gamification that offers incentives to share where you're finding wines and the scale in which Google can be bigger than Vivino is downright scary.
Oh, and let's not leave out all the people who visit wineries and snap, note, rate and upload...this is where credibility factors not yet in play come in. But if you can overlay say JebDunnuck or The Wine Advocate's ratings with the map and who has which wines within Maps (I see this coming) you have a total high credibility, fast to locate service, which also will impact my fave wine tool Wine-Searcher.com so if the wine shops make their inventory searchable to Google, and customers share their comments..well you get the picture.
Google can do the same thing in any speciality category it chooses, which is why I feel with this move to expand photos tied to maps, that apps like Vivino are in danger of being devalued.