Google Gets into the Same-Day Delivery Race. Why?

Like eBay and others, Google is trying to make a business out of really fast, really cheap delivery. Good luck!

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We lucky consumers in the Bay Area are serving as Guinea Pigs for a bunch of new services which are trying to make the concept of same-day delivery make sense.

There’s one from a startup called Postables. There’s eBay Now, which I found intriguing but glitchy when I tried it last year. And now there’s something called Google Shopping Express:

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. It’s incredibly early days and so the service is only available to a small number of people in the Bay Area.

As a tester, you will be able to shop online, in a single place, from retailers such as Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle and Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us — along with locally distinct shops such as San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee, and the Bay Area’s Palo Alto Toy & Sport and Raley’s Nob Hill Foods, and get your items delivered that same day. So hopefully, no more trips across town for simple errands.

Google doesn’t have much to say about the service in the blog post I just quoted, including how much it plans to charge. (Delivery is free during this test phase.)

Two thoughts:

  1. At some point, it won’t be fair to harass Google every time it releases something new. But with the announcement of Google Reader’s impending execution for being insufficently essential to the company’s mission still fresh in our minds, it’s impossible to not ask: why does Google need to be in the same-day delivery business?
  2. This month marks the fifteenth anniversary of the launch of the famously ill-fated Ever since, off and on, other companies have been trying to figure out how to do what Komzo couldn’t: make really fast delivery at a really low price into a rational, sustainable, profitable business. I wonder if it’s even possible?