If we asked you which major tech company is prepping a new same-day delivery service, we bet Google wouldn’t have been at the top of your list. After all, we know the Cupertino company more for its search engine, the Android platform, and its many other offerings, including Gmail and Maps. But according to TechCrunch’s sources, the search giant is preparing to launch a service called “Google Shipping Express,” and if it turns out to be true, it has the potential to become one of Amazon and eBay’s biggest competitors.
Google already has Wallet for e-payments and Shopping for finding vendors that sell items online, so it doesn’t come as a complete shocker that the company has apparently chosen to work on a shipping service. Google will be shipping items you buy online from its brick-and-mortar partner stores, which could include Target, Walmart, and Walgreens. The service will reportedly cost either $69 or $64 a year, making it $10 or $15 less than Amazon Prime. Of course, if you shop religiously at Amazon, that’s probably not enough incentive to change services, but Google Shipping Express might appeal to those who’ve never had Amazon Prime and shop regularly at Google’s partner vendors. It’s worth noting that eBay Now has recently expanded its 1-hour delivery app to San Jose, California, and Amazon is reportedly also gearing up to expand its Prime same-day delivery service.
The Google Shipping Express will be run by the company’s e-commerce product manager, Tom Fallows, TechCrunch writes. It’s supposedly meant to be the focus of Google’s e-commerce initiatives, which include the aforementioned Wallet and Shopping portals. A number of recent Google acquisitions could come into play: Bufferbox offers parcel pick-up stations in case you’re worried about shipping services losing your packages, and Channel Intelligence offers companies the technology to set up online shops.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors about Google getting into the shipping game. Reports late last year suggested that Google was testing a same-day shipping service among friends and family of Google employees in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here’s the kicker: The company was also supposedly aiming to use its self-driving cars for same-day shipping delivery in the future, so items could be sent off any time of the day (or night). It will probably take some time before you start getting your packages delivered by unmanned cars, but the moment you do is the moment you know you’ve taken a step into the future.