A New Google Venture, and Another Web Boundary Line Is Nudged
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER and NICK BILTON
Published: December 1, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO — In another foray into commerce, Google is working on a delivery service that would let people order items from local stores on the Web and receive them at their homes or offices within a day.
The service is in an early testing phase, and it was described by three people briefed on the project who were not authorized to speak about it publicly before it was announced. It is part of a bigger, strategic effort by Google to move beyond its core search business by helping people buy things, not just find them.
Other parts of this strategy include Google Wallet to make payments by cellphone, Google Offers for daily deals, apps that show location-based mobile ads and product search for local stores.
The idea behind the new delivery service is that people searching for products online or on their phones could buy something from a local retailer or the local branches of nationwide chains, and could then take the next step — delivery — through Google.
Google does not intend to build stores or warehouses or become a retailer itself, two of the people briefed on the delivery service said. Instead, it is talking with potential partners, including retailers and possibly couriers.
The service is the latest example of how the biggest tech companies — including Google, Apple and Amazon — are trying to branch out and, in the process, blurring the lines between their core businesses.