Google tiptoes into same-day local delivery service

The company is calling its Google Shopping Express service a "new experiment" that's in an "incredibly early days" phase. And you have to live in the San Francisco Bay Area to try it out.

Jon Skillings Editorial director
Jon Skillings is an editorial director at CNET, where he's worked since 2000. A born browser of dictionaries, he honed his language skills as a US Army linguist (Polish and German) before diving into editing for tech publications -- including at PC Week and the IDG News Service -- back when the web was just getting under way, and even a little before. For CNET, he's written on topics from GPS, AI and 5G to James Bond, aircraft, astronauts, brass instruments and music streaming services.
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Google Shopping Express
The Google Shopping Express site gives a quick primer on how the service works. Google/Screenshot by CNET

Google is going to start dabbling in same-day deliveries, and wants you online shoppers to help out.

Well, if you're doing your online shopping in the San Francisco Bay Area, that is. The company is calling its Google Shopping Express service, unveiled today, a "new experiment" that's in an "incredibly early days" phase, and the company is starting small to try to work out the kinks and avoid headlong overcommitment. (Consider the similar approach it's taking with Google Fiber in the Kansas City area.)

Google has enlisted a number of national and local retailers for the initiative, including Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle, and Toys "R" Us, plus San Francisco's own Blue Bottle Coffee and Raley's Nob Hill Foods.

As an incentive, Google says early testers will get six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery. "We're still working out our long-term pricing plan," Tom Fallows, product management director for Google Shopping Express, wrote in a blog post today.

Participation for now will be limited to "a small number of people" in the Bay Area, which Google is defining here as the city of San Francisco, and the Peninsula from San Mateo to San Jose. The company is taking signups on its Google Shopping Express site.

Word had been burbling for some time that Google was working on the Shopping Express project as a way to edge onto Amazon Prime turf.