Google’s stepping up
Watch out Alexa! Google Assistant has officially entered the voice command shopping game. In an announcement Thursday, product managers David Wang and Larry Adams unveiled Google Home’s newest trick–hands-free shopping.
Out of paper towels? Google Assistant has you covered. Got a load of laundry but no detergent? Google Assistant can handle that too. Looking through Google Assistant’s list of shopping partners, it seems like everyday household items are the focus.
However, there are a few beauty and electronics retailers like Ulta and Frys that are paired up with Google Home. I also see some potential for cutting into Amazon’s profit in the gift giving department, with retailers like Toys “R” Us, L’Occitane and Sur La Table (if you want to get fancy).
Who’s who of Google Home
Here’s a full list of retailers:
99 Ranch Market
Bed Bath and Beyond
Brickmans Ace Hardware
Buy Buy Baby
Gordon’s Ace Hardware
Nob Hill Foods
Orchard Supply Hardware
Palo Alto Toy & Sport
Pier 1 Imports
Smart & Final
Sur La Table
The Vitamin Shoppe
Toys”R”Us / Babies”R”Us
Treasure Island Foods
The list is lengthy and diverse, but nothing compared to Amazon’s list of merchants.
Plus, Google Express merchants vary from region to region. This could put the service at a disadvantage compared to Alexa’s access to Amazon Prime’s litany of nationwide merchants.
How does it work?
FYI, Google Assistant’s new shopping feature is tied directly to Google Express. Customers make orders through a list of Google Express Merchants. Say Fido needs more dog food. Give the order, “OK Google, order dog food”.
Google Assistant will wait for a “yes” to confirm an order or continue giving suggestions based on your Google Express order history and store availability. If Fido is picky about where he gets his dog food, you can even specify a store and Google Assistant will refine your search to that particular store.
As for cost, it’s unclear what shipping and service fees will be since Google’s offering a promo until April 30, 2017. Until then, service fees are waived. However, we do know that the competitor Alexa, requires a $99 Prime membership. Since Google Assistant is tied to Google Express, you may have to dole out the standard $95 Google Express membership fee.
Thanks to Google Assistant’s new shopping feature, we now have one more task we can handle through a conversational UI.
[clickToTweet tweet=”A hands-free shopping experience may be easier, but is it smarter? ” quote=”A hands-free shopping experience may be easier, but is it smarter? “]
I think getting smarter is the obvious next step for both Google Assistant and Alexa.
Integrating chatbots with Google Express retailers can bring depth to our voice command interactions. Chatbots can add expertise and customization to our purchases.
I don’t want or need much interaction when it comes to a simple purchase like toilet paper.
However, pet products, toys, books, electronics, and beauty items are all ripe for the type of smarter interactions retail sponsored chatbots can bring. Both Amazon and Google wisely opened up their platforms to outside developers. I’m excited to see what they come up with.