As the Google Assistant matures, it's gaining more and more abilities to help make our lives easier, but if there's one area it lags behind Amazon's Echo, it's shopping. That's unsurprising since it's Amazon's bread and butter as a company. A new partnership has just been announced that aims to help Google play catch up in this area. The company is joining forces with Walmart to offer quick and easy voice shopping through Google Express, which is also putting an end to membership fees.
Available in late September, the new integration will link Walmart's Easy Reorder list with Google Express (where your Assistant shopping list now lives). This will make it a cinch to have everyday essentials delivered to your door by simply asking Google Home or your Assistant equipped phone. Once you've linked the two accounts you'll get a personalized shopping experience, including recommendations based on your history.
Walmart is promising further functionality for the voice service next year, including in-store pickups for orders and fresh grocery shopping. It seems like a good match, leveraging Walmart's 4,700 US stores and Google's Assistant tech, built on its strong natural language processing and AI capabilities. Make no mistake, this is a direct shot at Amazon, and if implemented well the partnership could offer robust competition.
At the same time, Google is also doing away with membership fees for its Express shopping platform. Until now users have had to cough up $10 per month or $95 per year, but that won't be necessary with partners like Walmart doing the heavy lifting. Current members will be refunded for their remaining periods. Free delivery will also be offered, as long as the minimum spend for each retailer is met (usually around $25-35).
Sign up to be notified when the Walmart integration is up and running and you'll bag a 20% discount off your first order. Google also alludes to "more exciting experiences to come" in its blog post, so expect further deals of this kind in the near future. Happy shopping!