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Forget Alexa. Here's How to Shop With Google Assistant

Amazon might be out, but Target, Walmart and Costco are in.

Nest Audio
Juan Garzon / CNET

Shopping on Amazon got easier in recent years thanks to the advent of voice purchasing with Alexa. But not everyone uses Alexa or owns an Amazon Echo device. If you're a Google loyalist and you've fully integrated Google Assistant into your daily life -- using Nest smart speakers or displays around your house -- does that mean voice purchasing is off the table for you?

Not at all: Google Assistant is great for shopping, too. Nest Minis and other Google Assistant-compatible devices may not have Amazon at their disposal, but they do have the rest of the internet -- including partnerships with big box retailers like Target and Walmart.

Here's how to set up your Google Assistant for shopping and how to make the most of the voice assistant when you're ready to start.

How to set up shopping on Google Assistant

Before you buy something with the help of Google Assistant, you'll have to set it up to make payments. To do this, you'll need a device that supports Google Assistant -- like the Nest Mini and Nest Audio smart speakers or the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max smart displays -- or the Google Assistant or Google Home app on your smartphone. (If you have a Google Assistant device, you'll still need the app in order to fully interact with the device and set up a payment method.)

Once you've downloaded the Google Assistant or Google Home app, open it and navigate to the Settings menu. Tap Payments, then enter your credit card information. With this associated with your account, you'll be able to make purchases with Google Assistant.

How to buy something with Google Assistant

Buying a product with Google Assistant is easy once your payment method is set up. All you have to do is say, "OK Google, buy [item]." Google will find that item at a number of different retailers, such as Target, Walmart, Costco.

Once Google Assistant finds the product you're looking for, it will let you know where it's available and how much it costs. For instance, if you say "OK Google, buy dog food from Costco," the voice assistant might respond with, "OK, I found Kirkland Signature Dog Food, Healthy Weight -- 40-pound bag for $37.99. Would you like to order that?" 

If you respond, "Yes," then Google Assistant will place that order and your purchase will be delivered to you. Google Assistant will inform you of how long it will take to deliver. 

You can also specify that you'd like to pick up the order instead, or that you're looking for a different product.

How to use Voice Match to verify your purchases

If you live in a house with roommates known for pilfering your fizzy waters from the fridge -- or kids who download hundreds of dollars' worth of video games when you're not looking -- using Voice Match to verify your voice purchasing on Google Assistant might be a good idea. Essentially, Google Assistant recognizes your voice and uses it to make sure purchases through your account are actually coming from you.

Setting up Voice Match is easy. Just open the Google Home app, and tap your profile picture in the top right corner. Then tap Assistant settings > You > Payments. Finally, toggle on Confirm with Voice Match.

google-nest-hub-2nd-gen-3

Nest Hub smart displays can also help make shopping more visual, if you prefer.

Chris Monroe/CNET

How to set up a shopping list

Maybe you're not ready to buy just yet, or you'd rather go do your shopping in a brick and mortar store. Don't worry, Google Assistant can help out with that, too. Instead of telling the voice assistant to buy something for you, just say, "OK Google, add [product] to my shopping list." Google Assistant will add the product to your list and keep track of everything you add so you'll have it when you go shopping.

Not sure what you've already put on your list? Don't worry, Google Assistant can read it back to you. Just say, "OK Google, what's on my shopping list?"

How to reorder your favorites

Once you've ordered something through Google Assistant, you may want to do it again later. Luckily, it's easy to purchase your favorite products over and over again through Google Assistant. Just say, "OK Google, reorder [product]," and the voice assistant will automatically make the purchase for you again. 

How to track your orders

One of the downsides of the convenience of Google Assistant is the fact that sometimes, you just lose track of what you've bought. It's easy to forget when you aren't don't see the checkout happen. Luckily, Google Assistant remembers it all and will tell you the status of all your orders. 

Say, "OK Google, where's my package?" and the voice assistant will let you know where your package is and how long it will take to arrive at your doorstep.

Setting up Google Assistant for shopping is surprisingly easy. Google Assistant can be integrated into your regular shopping habits, keep track of what you need, and make purchases for you to save you the trouble of placing an order or going to the store. The more you use it, the easier it will get to set up regular purchases, track your orders and keep your home stocked with all the things that you and your family need.

For more information about Google Assistant: