Google tests same-day delivery retail project

Google puts out call for testers in San Francisco Bay Area

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area and order something from Target or Walgreens, Google might deliver your purchases right to your house for free.

Google announced Thursday that anyone living in the Bay Area can sign up for unlimited, same-day delivery of purchases from local and national retailers. Delivery is free, during the test period. Google said it's working on a pricing plan.

"Over the last few years, we've worked hard to bring the speed of the web to the real world," wrote Tom Fallows, a product management director for Google, in a blog post. "Today we're starting a new experiment, Google Shopping Express. It's a local delivery service that we hope will make it possible for you to get the items you order online the same day, and at a low cost."

Since the company is just getting its feet wet with this retail project, Google is limiting the initial offering to people within the city of San Francisco or those on the Peninsula from San Mateo to San Jose.

At this early point, the project includes retailers like Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle and Toys 'R' Us/Babies 'R' Us, according to Google. However, some local businesses are participating, including San Francisco's Blue Bottle Coffee, the Bay Area's Palo Alto Toy & Sport and Raley's Nob Hill Foods.

If testers order online from one of these businesses, a Google delivery person will deliver their purchases the same day.

"So hopefully, no more trips across town for simple errands," wrote Fallows. "We're still working out our long-term pricing plan but early testers will get six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery. The pilot will expand as we work out the kinks, so please stay tuned."

Anyone who lives in the Bay Area, can apply to be a tester.

The program appears to be an effort by Google to move into e-commerce and compete with delivery services offered by Amazon.com, WalMart.com, and eBay.

Google is looking for people in the San Francisco Bay Area to test their same-day delivery project. (Photo: Google)

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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