The Google search portal.
A new report indicates that Google is looking to go toe-to-toe with Amazon in creating a delivery service that would allow online shoppers to receive goods they purchase online the next day for a low fee.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the new project is an attempt to compete with Amazon's "Prime" service, which charges shoppers $79 a year to receive speedy shipping on myriad online purchases for no additional cost.
This isn't Google's first attempt at snatching up a slice of the massive retail pie: The search giant launched a customized shopping platform called Boutiques.com in late 2010, which was rather quickly deemed a kind of failure, and has since been incorporated into Google's product search results. This year, Google has announced a series of commerce-friendly new products, including Google Catalogs, Google Wallet, and Google Offers.
The venture is not indicative of Google diving into e-commerce, per se, but rather a service that will help shoppers get their goods faster, and -- for a nominal fee -- without the burden of high shipping costs. From WSJ:
The quick-shipping service would be based on Google's behind-the-scenes system that allows shoppers to figure out whether nearby stores have a product in stock and whether they can get that product shipped to them within a day. When shoppers place an order on participating retailers' sites, Google's system could kick in to offer them the option of same-day or next-day delivery, said a person familiar with the matter.
WSJ reported that Google had approached retailers like Macy's and Gap, and insiders speculated to WWD that the search giant might have a lot to offer large retailers if it could leverage its massive user base and impressive technology, especially when it comes to personalization and search -- something Google was clearly testing with the purchase of Like.com and the launch of Boutiques.com last year.