One of the biggest doubts cast upon Google Home when it was released was whether it could catch up to Amazon Echo, which had already enjoyed a considerable head start than Alphabet's Assistant-powered smart speaker.
Well, no one can answer that yet, but it's certainly making inroads to parallel the retail company's very able home companion. First, Google enabled casting Netflix content to a user's television, followed by third-party actions at the beginning of the year.
Now, Google is throwing another feature in Home's way, this time directly rivaling a similar Echo feature. Home users may now start shopping from select retailers, using voice commands, through Google Express. Simply ask "OK Google, order cat food," or other everyday items, and Assistant will place the order. A Google Express courier will then deliver the item on the same day.
How To Set Default Address And Payment Method
But before barking your whole shopping list at the device, you must first set up a default address and payment method. To do this, open the Google Home app for iOS or Android, choose More Settings and then tap Payments under Google Account settings.
A terms and conditions prompt will appear, which after agreeing to will then let users enter their card information and billing address. Several prompts will show up before users can select a delivery address, after which, that's basically it.
How To Order Items Using Google Home
When placing orders with Google Home, users will get results from participating stores. Here is the full list of supported retailers via Google Express, as listed by 9to5Google:
What's really good about this new feature is that, through April 30, Home owners won't have to pay for additional services or membership fees some participating stores uphold, which diminishes the cost and hassle altogether.
When ordering items, Assistant will take the user through a number of results, giving the price point and a short description of the product before asking for confirmation. If the user declines, Assistant will proceed to the next result, and if the user declines a second time, Assistant will add the item to the shopping list inside the Google Home app.
Naturally, people may order Google's own products using the new feature, such as a Chromecast or even another Google Home device. Oddly, Google's own online store doesn't seem to be prioritized, as observed by CNET, and items over $100 aren't allowed. There are limitations, sure, but Google will most likely learn to be more lax about those if more people increasingly use the functionality.
The update should now be rolling out as we speak. One caveat, though: Only those living in areas where Google's same-day delivery service is offered will be able to take advantage of the new feature.
It makes sense for Google to add a shopping ecosystem to its smart speaker, given its rival's retail advantage. Of course, Amazon's marketplace is a tough vessel to best, but despite that, Google has advertising and retail partners looking to move product, so it's only logical for it to move into the shopping territory.
On a different note, apart from being allowed to shop using smart speakers, these devices might also host telephone features soon, long as they skirt the messy taglock of privacy concerns.