Google goes after Amazon with same-day delivery

Barnes & Noble teams with Google to challenge Amazon's delivery service

Can't wait to get your hands on that new book from your favorite author?

If you want same-day delivery, now you have a choice. You could use Amazon's delivery service, but now you also can turn to Google, which has just teamed up with Barnes & Noble.

Google announced that starting Thursday, book buyers in three metropolitan areas in the U.S. will be able to order books from local Barnes & Noble stores and get them delivered the same day with Google Shopping Express, the company's fledgling online shopping and delivery service.

"We're excited that people in the San Francisco Bay Area, West LA and Manhattan will be able to use Google Shopping Express to get same day deliveries from Barnes & Noble, joining our existing retail partners like Target, Costco and Staples," a Google spokesperson said in an email to Computerworld.

The move is a solid swing at rival Amazon, easily the world's most well-known online retailer. Amazon, with enormous warehouses of products set up near major urban areas, had previously announced its own same-day delivery service.

Amazon is trying so hard to put a stake in the ground for same-day deliveries that it has asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for permission to test drones for use in its Prime Air package delivery service.

Now Google, with help from another Amazon rival, is taking on Amazon's delivery efforts.

"This is a Google salvo against Amazon, on Amazon's home court, as well" said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "Same-day delivery is a great feature, but I'm not sure how vital it is. I think that most people will weigh the costs of same day versus the cost of second or third-day shipping, and the cost of the item. How many people will pay upwards of $10 for same-day delivery of a $15 book or other item? Hard to say."

Olds also said he suspects that Google and Barnes & Noble won't expand their same-day delivery service to rural areas like Maine or Nebraska.

"Same day is a big challenge for everyone," Olds said. "The challenge is to keep the costs in control while offering a wide range of products. It's expensive enough that I doubt we'll see a lot of same-day delivery other than in the bigger cities, where the volume and limited geographic area make it feasible at a reasonable cost."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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