Google doesn’t want Amazon to have all the fun, so it’s teaming up with one of the largest brick-and-mortar retailers in an attempt to beat the digital retail giant at its own game. One month after Walmart and Google announced a partnership that promised to “bring you hundreds of thousands of products at Walmart’s Every Day Low Prices … that you can buy through voice with your Assistant on Google Home or on the Google Express website or app,” that partnership has gone live.
If it sounds familiar, it’s because you can already do your voice-based shopping through Amazon with Alexa and the various Echo devices. Now, Google’s partnership with Walmart brings together two titans in their respective industries. You can now buy just any of Walmart’s products through Google Express by using the Google Express app or via voice with the Google Home. Items over $35 will ship free, but you’ll have to pay a small fee for anything under that minimum.
Google Express has also done away with its membership fees, which means that you no longer have to pay either $10 a month or $95 a year to get free delivery in one to three days. That, if nothing else, gives the service an advantage over Amazon, whose famed Prime membership probably will not be free anytime soon.
Now that Google is getting rid of fees, it is hoping that it might see greater adoption of shopping via voice. Taking advantage of the new functionality ought to be simple enough — if you are already a Walmart customer, just link your Walmart account to Google and you will receive personalized shopping results based on your order history.
“It’s still really early days [for voice shopping]. However, we have watched the advancements in artificial intelligence over the previous two years and can extrapolate as to where it’s going,” Marc Lore, Walmart’s head of ecommerce in the U.S, said in an interview with TechCrunch. “We do think that, in the future, voice will be orders of magnitude further along than it is today in understanding and responding to consumer needs. It’s going to be a powerful mechanism to enhance the shopping experience.”
Update: Google and Walmart’s partnership has finally gone live.