Google testing same-day delivery service

Tony Avelar/BLOOMBERG - Google Inc. signage is displayed at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Monday, April 4, 2011.

Google is dipping its toe into the retail space, announcing that it is testing same-day delivery service of online goods in the San Francisco Bay Area.

According to a Web site posted by the company, a small number of testers (ages 18 and up) will be able to purchase goods online from partners such as Target, Staples and Walgreens and get same-day delivery through a Google courier service.

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Testers will get a “free 6-month membership” to the service, the company said, but the site did not contain details about how much this service will cost normally.

The company said that testers can browse local stores to find what they need, and just have to select a delivery window to receive their goods on the same day. A photo on the company’s Web site shows that deliveries run at least from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Earlier this month, TechCrunch reported that Google was mulling the launch of a same-day delivery service — a move that would put the company in direct competition with Amazon and eBay as well as retailers like Wal-Mart.

Amazon Prime members currently get free two-day shipping from the service as part of a $79 per year subscription that also gives them access to streaming video. The TechCrunch report indicated that Google’s service would likely cost between $10 and $15 less than Amazon Prime.

E-commerce continues to grow, with online sales seeing a record holiday season in 2012. The area is expected to grow between 9 and 12 percent in 2013, according to figures from the National Retail Federation.

In addition to letting anyone in the San Francisco area to become a tester, Google has also provided a form to let retailers join the program.

The form asks retailers to provide their location, as well as whether they are capable of providing Google with in-store product availability “multiple times per day.”

In a blog post, Google product management director Tom Fallows said that the pilot program will “expand as we work out the kinks” but didn’t provide any clues as to when — or if — Google would being deploying the service outside of the San Francisco area.

 
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