Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) plays an increasingly central role in the lives of everyday people around the world. From the flash-in-the-pan of Google Glass to their ventures with driverless cars, the extent of the tech company’s reach seems to know no bounds.
Now, Google is looking to expand even farther from its humble beginnings as the niftiest search engine on the Internet: Google wants to deliver all of the things you buy through its new service, Google Express.
In a move that’s surely motivated by Google’s desire to compete with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) in the home-delivery business, Google Express is already operating in eight major metropolitan areas around the country, predominantly in California, the Midwest, and the Atlantic coast.
What is Google Express?
Clearly an attempt to build upon the success of similar delivery services offered by its rivals in the tech sector, Google is embarking on the promising-yet-perilous path toward being the ultimate middleman in retail. With the debut of Amazon Prime Now this year, a product shipping and delivery service that boldly boasts one-hour and two-hour delivery time options, Google has responded with its own version of the same idea through Express.
The expansion into home deliveries fits the all-encompassing model of market ubiquity that Google has been striving toward. The strategy allows Google to compete directly with Amazon (along with its numerous distribution centers and fabled fleet of drones to transport the packages) in order to curb any expansion of market share (even in new markets) for Google’s biggest rivals.
What You Can Buy
Although one would expect only a few (presumably high-end) companies to participate in the incipient Google Express when it’s just getting off the ground, a surprisingly wide range of different retailers are already available through the service. Some of the bigger names include Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS), Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS), Walgreens (NYSE:WAG; NASDAQ:WBA), Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), Toys ‘R’ Us, Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM), Petsmart (NASDAQ:PETM), Payless Shoes (NYSE:PSS), Ulta (NASDAQ:ULTA), and a slew of more niche vendors.
Not every single participating vendor is available to each of the cities initially covered by the Google Express network, though most of the eight regions covered by the service have a similar mix of retailers—grocery stores, book stores, beauty stores, toy stores, office goods suppliers, sporting goods outlets, clothiers. The list impressively goes on.
Google has seemingly matched Amazon Prime Now’s claim of one-hour delivery with its own same-day and overnight delivery guarantees. Shipping prices are lower for Google Express members, so you can still use the delivery service even without signing up (but for slightly higher costs). Even alcohol deliveries are handled by Express, which is subject to an extra one-cent charge for Express members. ($3 is assessed to non-members.)
So far, Google Express is only available in eight select metropolitan areas:
- San Francisco
- Peninsula & San Jose
- Northern California
- West Los Angeles
- Washington, D.C.