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Google testing same-day delivery service, NYT reports

The New York Times reports that the company is readying an effort to enter a crowded field -- but without building warehouses or handling merchandise itself.

Coming soon: Google Delivery?

Add another Web giant to the fast-growing world of same-day delivery.

The New York Times reports that Google is now testing same-day delivery in San Francisco, letting Googlers and their friends order items online and have them delivered to their homes "within a matter of hours." Google wouldn't comment.

San Francisco is currently chockablock with same-day delivery services. Startups including TaskRabbit, Postmates, and Instacart all offer quick delivery of various goods. Amazon, Wal-Mart, eBay, and the U.S. Postal Service are testing same-day delivery services of their own.

The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Google was getting into the delivery game, mounting a direct challenge to Amazon Prime's quick-delivery service.

Google wouldn't build warehouses or a shipping service, according to reports. Instead, it would work existing retailers and couriers. At least one national apparel chain is involved, the NYT reported.

Why now? The Times speculates that the move is a hedge against Amazon, which has a popular product-search engine that competes with Google's own. It also bridges the online and offline worlds for Google's various commerce products, letting Google fulfill purchases made using its services and giving it access to valuable consumer data. So far, though, it's unclear whether Google will take a cut of the delivery fee.