Google makes it easier to buy what you search for

Instead of shopping on Amazon, the tech giant wants you to make purchases from partners like Costco, Target and Walmart.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
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Google's Shopping Actions feature makes it easier to buy what you shop for. 


Google wants to break your Amazon Prime habit. 

The company has created a new service called Shopping Actions that makes it easier for you to purchase the items you search for on Google, the company said in a blog post. Instead of asking Google or the Google Assistant, "Where can I buy this," and then ultimately making the purchase on Amazon, Google's new service makes it simple to buy it from one of its partners like Target or Walmart.

You'll have a universal shopping cart you can access from your mobile device, desktop or Google Home smart speaker. When you search for an item, such as toothpaste, you'll see a sponsored listing for an option from one of Google's partners and will be able to add it to a Google Express cart. You can also speak out loud to your Google Home to add items, like paper towels, to your shopping cart. 

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The company said over the past two years, mobile searches for "where to buy" jumped over 85 percent, and 44 percent of people who use their voice-activated speaker weekly use it at least once a week to order items they need like groceries and household supplies. 

"It's clear that people want helpful, personal, and frictionless interactions that allow them to shop wherever and however they want -- from making decisions on what to buy, to building baskets, to checking out more quickly than ever before," Google said. 

Shopping Actions is an effort by Google and retailers to counteract the popularity of Amazon. Amazon, with its Prime two-day shipping, has become a big threat for traditional retailers. The Seattle company makes 40 cents of every dollar spent online in the US and has become the default search engine for product searches for most Americans, according to researchers.

Google already has allowed consumers to make purchases by speaking their orders out loud to their Google Home or Google Assistant in their phones. Still, the service is in its early days, with most consumers not used to buying items using a smart speaker. 

Google's initial retail partners for its new Shopping Actions service include 1-800-Flowers, Costco, Target, Ulta Beauty and Walmart. The system can be linked with your loyalty accounts, letting you collect points or default to certain retailers. 

In return for being listed, the retailers pay Google a cut of the purchase price. The company said the retailers only pay when a sale actually takes place. Google noted it's seen an approximate 30 percent increase in basket size for merchants participating in the program.

The Shopping Actions appear on the sponsored Shopping section on Google's Search page and on Google.com/shopping. The company said no organic search rankings are impacted or changed. 

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