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Google To Deliver Groceries 92

An anonymous reader writes: Out of carrots? Fire up Google and search for some. They might just show up at your house. Bloomberg reports that the search giant will start testing a grocery delivery service later this year in San Francisco and one other city. Google will be partnering with Costco, Whole Foods, and other grocery stores to source their products. "Google is investing in delivery services for homes and businesses as it seeks to lure more traffic to its websites. The move puts the company in more direct competition with Amazon, which has rolled out its AmazonFresh service in several U.S. cities. ... The fresh-food trial, including fruits and vegetables, is part of a move away from making deliveries from warehouses, which can add complexity and requires refrigeration."
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Google To Deliver Groceries

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Back around 2000?

    Anyhow, I'll use google grocery if they can bring more vegan products to market.

    • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2015 @10:21PM (#50483977) Homepage Journal

      Back then you had to use the interwebs or actually talk to someone on the telephone-thingy.

      Now, "there's an app for that."

      Apps are magic, they can turn anything into money. I know this is true because an App told me so.

    • by Xochil ( 542406 )

      Yes, and Webvan was great!

    • Hey if the studio can rehash/reboot movies every 10/15 years Google can rehash/reboot millennial internet ideas. Give it 5 more years and flash will be the web 4.0 once more with flash intro, flash carts, flash contact forms and etc..

    • WebVan is the most famous [wikipedia.org]. As I see it, home grocery delivery is an infrastructure problem. WebVan failed by expanding rapidly in multiple markets, before they had the cash flow to really support even one market. Furthermore, the infrastructure they built was not really what they needed (which is why they should have started in one market and expanded.......make the mistakes at a small scale, then you know what to avoid when you scale up).

      Now there are plenty [safeway.com] of [instacart.com] companies [peapod.com] doing [hy-vee.com] it [meijer.com]. I know one person who d
      • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @12:14AM (#50484411)
        Local grocery chains are already better positioned to offer this kind of service; their stores themselves can act as the supply house from which the order is pulled, assembled, and delivered from. Even if a particular chain decides to select only specific stores to do it, those can be the best equipped stores with the most merchandise variety to source from.

        This whole thing reminds me of how Sears really screwed up; they could have been the Amazon of today if they had leveraged their geographical ubiquity and made home delivery and online ordering work with the Internet. They had one of the best catalog services ever, and they tore it apart to put their efforts into store retail sales. They could have fulfilled same-day or next-day delivery to probably 80% of the population of the United States for LOTS of products if they'd tried. Instead their various divisions are forced to compete against each other.
        • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @01:43AM (#50484655)

          Local grocery chains are already better positioned to offer this kind of service; their stores themselves can act as the supply house from which the order is pulled, assembled, and delivered from. Even if a particular chain decides to select only specific stores to do it, those can be the best equipped stores with the most merchandise variety to source from.

          But only if they have accurate real time inventory, otherwise they can't complete with a company with good enough logistics to tell you when the item you're ordering is out of stock. I've ordered from Instacart a few times (Safeway and Whole Foods), and though their service is very convenient, they are regularly out of stock of 10 - 20% of the items I ordered. I realize that the same item is out of stock at the store, but at least when I'm shopping at the store I can look around for a suitable substitute even if it's not in the same class of item that I ordered ("Oh crap, they are out of sandwich meat, I guess I'll get a frozen pizza instead"). It got to the point where i'd have to go shopping after they delivered the order so I could pick up the things that I really needed, and if I have to go to the store anyway, I might as well pick up *everything* I need.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Here in the UK there is a online only supermarket called Ocado that I use and solves this problem
            They have good stock information online, but once in a while somethings are out of stock anyways. When this happens they usually can replace it with a similar product, and just charge you the lower price if the new item is more expensive (eg 300g cheddar is out of stock, they deliver 400g cheddar and charge you the price for 300g).

            • by xaxa ( 988988 )

              Here in the UK there is a online only supermarket called Ocado that I use and solves this problem

              What's possibly surprising to Americans is home-delivered groceries is a solved problem in Britain. Tesco has been selling through a website since 1996, almost as long as Amazon. Delivery costs as little as £1, and you choose a time slot for delivery.

              Wander round any British town or city and you'll soon notice delivery vans from Tesco, Sainsbury's, Ocado, Waitrose, Asda or the other large supermarkets. They're probably the most common commercial vehicles after about 7pm in residential areas.

          • At least some stores will substitute for you. Problem is, they don't care as much about your shopping as you do, so they won't necessarily make intelligent substitutions. You'll order the cheapest and get the most expensive, or you'll order the no-GMO organic hippy version and get back a packet of chemicals.

            • by xaxa ( 988988 )

              At least some stores will substitute for you. Problem is, they don't care as much about your shopping as you do, so they won't necessarily make intelligent substitutions. You'll order the cheapest and get the most expensive, or you'll order the no-GMO organic hippy version and get back a packet of chemicals.

              The supermarkets in Britain will either charge you for what you ordered if they substitute something more expensive, or let you refund it when it's delivered (substitutions are generally packed separately, so you can check immediately and hand what you don't want to the driver). They also let you specify what should happen, you can e.g. ask for the item to be skipped if the exact thing isn't in stock.

              They've been working on this since 1996.

          • But only if they have accurate real time inventory,

            they would have to install sensors and continuously monitor every individual piece of produce to do that. produce goes bad in the truck, it goes bad in the back of the store, it goes bad on the shelf. Determining your actual produce inventory in real time is harder than determining the life status of schoedinger's cat.

        • This whole thing reminds me of how Sears really screwed up; they could have been the Amazon of today if they had leveraged their geographical ubiquity and made home delivery and online ordering work with the Internet. They had one of the best catalog services ever, and they tore it apart to put their efforts into store retail sales. They could have fulfilled same-day or next-day delivery to probably 80% of the population of the United States for LOTS of products if they'd tried. Instead their various divisions are forced to compete against each other.

          That's a really interesting point.

          • That's a really interesting point.

            the story about how idiotic "libertarian" business managers thought the company would do better if it "competed with itself" has been all over the trade rags

            • Mainly I had never thought that they were in a position to overtake Amazon, but his post made me realize they were.
              I didn't think their brick-and-mortar locations could be an asset, but I guess that shows my short-sightedness.
    • I'll use google grocery if they can bring more vegan products to market.

      And I'll use them if they can bring more endangered species meat to market.

      I still have thylacine on my bucket list.

    • There are some things in technology has changed in the last 15 years.
      The biggest things are the following.
      1. Big Data: Google can get areas to target more accurately, able to search for sources where food is cheapest or at quality level.
      2. GPS and Mapping. Back in the early 2000's only a few people had GPS, now it is everywhere, as well we get more accurate maps, and planning software to optimize our routes.
      3. Uber effect. There shows there is a good size population willing to work for themselves under so

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @07:18AM (#50485371)

      We tried a grocery delivery service when it first rolled out here in Minneapolis back in 2000. The whole experience was kind of disappointing. For likely logistical reasons you had some kind of order deadline a day or so before the order would be delivered and of course in sophistication terms, the ordering process was web-2000 clunky.

      The bigger problem was that even though someone else picked the items and delivered them, it didn't feel like it saved a ton of time or effort. We have 5 major supermarkets within 10 minutes drive, so transit isn't an issue. With delivery, you still have to unload the containers into your house, so walking the bags from the car isn't really eliminated. Frozen is problematic unless you're home when the delivery comes.

      And ordering from a list is problematic -- I often find myself making closer judgements on items I may not buy regularly and you can't do that from a list. Sometimes you have a sudden change about what you might buy in the store -- an inspiration from something you see, a realization that making a specific meal doesn't make sense due to a change in plans, or remembering somehting that wasn't on your shopping list and so on. And then there's choosing produce and meat. I can make decisions about that stuff that fit my own specific standards, not some grocery pickers standards.

      There's also the notion that some people like shopping in person. It can be a chore, but I'm sure more than one married parent will admit that sticking their spouse with the kids while you go to the store is a mini-escape, complete with an unadvertised trip to Starbucks and/or some other side trip.

      • There's also the notion that some people like shopping in person.

        because maybe today's produce sucks and you can decide on the spot to have something different for dinner instead of eating stale vegetables

  • Can I pay extra to not have to watch^H^H^H^H^Heat the ads?

  • Seems kinda empty (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the_Bionic_lemming ( 446569 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2015 @10:19PM (#50483969)

    I searched google shopping for a confederate flag.

    No results.

    I'll stick with duck duck go.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      p.s. - on a side note, if you search google shopping for the "n" word (spelled out like it's used in rap) they have tons of stuff you can buy....

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Same with Amazon, but neither have a problem selling ISIS flags.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Google sells Nazi flags, ISIS flags, anarchist flags, KKK flags.............. But no CONFEDERATE flags.

      Liberalism at its finest....

    • by Zaatxe ( 939368 )
      Why not a North Korean flag instead? I got plenty of results for it. Iran's flag as well.
    • The only thing you buy is confederate flags? What the hell does your truck look like? A patriotic hedgehog? Are there red, white and blue truck nuts hanging from the hitch receiver?

  • Out of carrots? Fire up Google and search for some. They might just show up at your house.

    I'm going to search for "gold bullion" and see if the same principle applies.

  • Unlike every other hip thing, ever, this service actually includes my middle-of-nowhere town in Ohio.

    There aren't any local businesses or franchisees on it, except for PetSmart and Walgreens (neither of which ever get any of my money), and I don't expect that to change any time soon. Most of the things I use I buy locally, unless they're somewhat arcane, and then it is Amazon or eBay.

    On the other hand it does work with a subset of things from Costco, and the nearest Costco is a far enough drive that for so

    • Unlike every other hip thing, ever, this service actually includes my middle-of-nowhere town in Ohio.

      grocery delivery was hip 100 years ago, it's good to see you are catching up

      • by adolf ( 21054 )

        Oddly, of all the things they seem to be offering for same-day delivery in my town, most of it is not groceries but hard goods.

        And hard goods delivery is a hip thing in 2015: Malls and retail giants are failing, but people still buy their stuff somewhere.

  • I'm tired of hearing those guys bang on the front door to my building at nearly midnight a couple of nights a week.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All the better to see what's in your fridge, and bedroom.

  • Its called my me and my car or my kid with my car.

  • Um i have seen Google Express cars around here for years now, presumably doing mostly grocery deliveries. Not sure what we are talking about ?

    https://www.google.com/express... [google.com]

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

      Um i have seen Google Express cars around here for years now, presumably doing mostly grocery deliveries. Not sure what we are talking about ?

      https://www.google.com/express... [google.com]

      You could always read the article if you want to know more about what the summary is about:

      Google Inc. will start testing a delivery service for fresh food and groceries in two U.S. cities later this year, stepping up competition with online retailer Amazon.com Inc. and startup Instacart Inc.
      The trial will begin in San Francisco and another city, said Brian Elliott, general manager of Google Express, which already delivers merchandise, including dry foods, to customers. Whole Foods Market Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. will be among Google’s partners for the new service, he said.

      (emphasis mine)

      • 'Dry foods' is bollocks. You can order 'fresh food and groceries' from Google Express right now

  • Trying to lure me with a carrot, eh? I'm not falling for that.

  • I've in the past said,"It'd be great if I could order and pay for my groceries before I get to the store and have a stock person have them in a cart for me.", but I was criticized that this takes a stock person's time.

    If Uber/Lyft had a computer database of the stuff sold at grocery stores(not trivial), they could simply have drivers be ordered to pick up stuff for people who ordered. The driver would show up at the grocery store, do the shopping and take it back to the person who can't get out of their
    • Not sure if it's just a US thing. In the UK, "click and collect" is available in most supermarkets (and in Australia, for that matter). But then so is web-ordered home delivery.

      As I said back when Amazon started trialing this, I think they'll find it hard to compete with the supermarkets. Fresh food can't be stored in a warehouse on one side of the country and posted everywhere; it requires a complex distribution infrastructure, with local stock regularly replenished and without everything passing throug

      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        "Not sure if it's just a US thing."

        Yes, this is one of those rare occurrences where the UK is actually about 15 years ahead of North America. Reading this thread has been like a throwback to the turn of the millennium.

        Watching Americans talk about long solved problems in this way is amusing. This must be how things are to them the rest of the time when they look at all our antiquated systems where they're usually years ahead of us.

        Imagine if they could..., what about this problem?, why don't they...?, would

    • I've in the past said,"It'd be great if I could order and pay for my groceries before I get to the store and have a stock person have them in a cart for me.", but I was criticized that this takes a stock person's time.

      Raley's and Bel-Air have an e-cart option for that, here in northern California.

    • Safeway.com offers that [safeway.com]. They will also deliver.

    • and we they say 30 min's or it fees and people start dieing / getting hurt in car accidents. The lawyers will go after google deep pockets and no you can say the diver is an IC you can't have to sue them.

    • peapod is still in business and they have been doing stuff like this for years.

      • peapod is just a grocery store, paying someone to shop in the grocery store for you.

        they have been providing this service for decades in various forms

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The natural life cycle of a tech giant:

    1) Have one or a few good ideas and ride it to becoming a huge business
    2) Accumulate the bean counters and middle managers necessary to run such a large company
    3) Run out of growth for their main business
    4) Flounder around trying random stupid ideas. Most fail because huge companies have massive bureaucracy and process.
    5) Decline and collapse

    IBM entered #4 in the mid-90s and is in late stage #5 today. M$ has been in #4 for the past decade and just entered #5. I'd wa

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So after Google Groceries records and catalogs and data mines the food you eat, what's next? Google Waste Extraction to carefully document and monetize the food you excrete?

  • Yeah of course I'll pay two or three times the usual cost of all my food, why the hell not?

    Oh yeah, because I don't want to pay two or three times the usual cost of my food.

  • Out of carrots? Fire up Google and search for some. They might just show up at your house.

    *reviews search history. flees house*

  • Why would i use Google instead of my Local grocerie store/stores? I don't trust Google, they have a history of getting fined/sued for tricking customers for more money. Doing Evil as apposed to Do no Evil? This may help some people but i don't think on the level of profit they want.

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