It’s hard to talk about the Google Home without comparing it to the Amazon Echo and Alexa — the two speaker systems are tied together as they compete to take the top spot as the dominant smart home hub. But Amazon has held one big advantage over Google from the start: You can order just about anything online just by asking Alexa.
Starting today, Google is taking steps to close the gap. The search giant is rolling out a new shopping feature on the Home using Google Assistant so you can make quick purchases via voice command.
Google Home owners just need to prompt their device by saying “Ok Google, how do I shop?” or even more specifically something like “Ok Google, order paper towels.” Assistant will take over from there, placing an order for same-day or two-day shipping.
Unlike Amazon’s AI ordering system, which is tied to the massive Prime marketplace, the Home system uses Google Express. The service is much smaller, with a limited number of participating online retailers that vary in availability depending on the shipping area.
Express membership typically costs $10 per month or $95 per year (although users can opt for a $4.99 per order charge without signing up)— but from now until April 30, all Home shoppers will have to do is add a payment method to their profile and all other ordering fees will be waived.
Especially when you compare Google’s service to Alexa (which, let’s face it, you are) it’s an underwhelming start. That should change, though — Google says that more new features and support for other apps and services are on the way in the coming months.