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Google Express Adds Grocery Delivery, Taking on Amazon, Instacart, Everybody On-Demand

Get your salad from Sundar.

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

Lately, rumors have swirled that Google’s floundering experiment with goods delivery was on the outs.

Nope. Google Express is still around and is now taking on a risky venture: Grocery delivery. On Wednesday, the three-year-old service announced it will start shipping perishable items to select neighborhoods in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Google Express will be working with its existing retail partners Costco, Smart & Final and Whole Foods (with Vicente Foods instead of Whole Foods in Los Angeles).

The move pits the search giant against Amazon, whose Prime Now delivery service is steadily adding grocery partners, as well as well-funded startups like Instacart. Google’s edge against the latter may be its deep pockets. Express is starting grocery deliveries at $2.99 for members and $4.99 for non-members. Instacart, the leading grocery delivery company, recently raised prices amid staff layoffs.

Google will have a harder time competing with Amazon. The e-commerce giant also has deep pockets and is known for effective logistical execution. Prime Now pledges one-hour grocery delivery; Express is starting with a two-hour window. In the fall, Express saw its third executive shake-up in the past year.

As a reminder, the Express delivery service still sits (for now) within Google proper, not under the Alphabet umbrella.

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