Google Shopping Express to expand, 'democratize' delivery biz

Google may be where you turn for simple search queries, but it's likely not where you go to find (and ultimately buy) products. Amazon is squeezing the competition out for product searches, and a large part of that is the ease with which we can buy items we like. It seems Google may be gearing up to challenge them for product search-and-ship queries, though.

A new report suggest Google is laying the foundation to take their Shopping Express initiative to a broader scale. Insiders say the company has earmarked $500 million to expand Shopping Express — which brings us two-day (or less) shipping on items purchased via Google — nationwide. Currently, Shopping Express operates in several major metropolitan areas.

The biggest reach for Shopping Express is currently grocery shipments, where some users get six months of free grocery delivery when they sign up. That's an area Amazon is pushing their way into, even offering up a handheld barcode scanner to make life easier on users.

Shopping Express differs from Amazon in that Google keeps the brick-and-mortar businesses involved. By partnering with the likes of Toys-R-Us, Target, and Walgreens, Google simply serves as a medium by which we search — then buy. Items come directly from those retailers, rather than an expansive warehouse.

Google wouldn't comment on the news, but isn't shy about Shopping Express. Tom Fallows, head of Google Shopping Express, said "You can very much expect that we are putting a lot of money into this and we're excited and willing to sustain that investment over time as this gets going." He also pointed to Google's inability to finish the search query by not giving us a method for buying items. "We think that helping close the loop on locally available items is a really important part of making sure Google is the best place to shop" he said.

Pricing wasn't announced for Shopping Express, but it will likely check in far less that Amazon Prime. Google takes a small cut of the transaction amount, and the shipment is handled by couriers. If you buy items from multiple locations, a $4.99 per additional store visited is tacked on. "We intend this to be an affordable service that as many people as possible can adopt," Fallows said. "We are trying to democratize the world of same-day delivery."

Source: Re/Code