Walmart dives into voice-activated shopping with Google

Pablo Tucker
August 23, 2017

Shoppers on Google Express, the tech company's online shopping mall, will soon have access to hundreds of thousands of Walmart products that they can buy through voice using devices equipped with Google Assistant, like Android phones and Google Home.

Indeed, it's hard not to see today's announcement from Google and United States shopping giant Walmart in terms of Amazon's growing ambitions. The service is only available in the United States, although Walmart does own the United Kingdom chain Asda, so an expansion onto these shores could potentially happen. These products can now be purchased through the voice speaker of Google Home, the tech giant's innovation, as a competition to the amusing Echo.

Walmart joins a number of other American retailers on Google Express, including Costco and Target. Walmart ups its e-commerce profile as it continues to battle Amazon in both the digital and brick-and-mortar retail realms.

Amazon has long made life hard for Wal-Mart on the internet and is now also competing with it in the real world with its planned acquisition of supermarket chain, Whole Foods.

The world's largest retailer said Wednesday it's working with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of items from laundry detergent to Legos for voice shopping through Google Assistant.

Customers might be able to use voice shopping to pick up a discounted order in-store or buy fresh groceries across the country, he said.

In another direct challenge to Amazon, Walmart also said Wednesday it will be introducing voice shopping to fresh grocery purchases across the US sometime next year. The Google Home has bid an offer for the commerce functionality just like the Amazon has done with Alexa's voice.

"We're still in early days, but shopping isn't yet one of the big uses of the devices", Victoria Petrock, principal analyst at research firm eMarketer, said on Tuesday. "A little more than six in 10 people are concerned that these virtual assistants are spying on them".

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