- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Google Express, the Internet giant’s online delivery service, might soon be as ubiquitous as its namesake search engine. The company is officially expanding its Express platform, bringing overnight service to millions of customers in the Midwest while it eyes same-day grocery delivery in select markets.

Brian Elliott, the general manager of Google Express, said Tuesday that increased coverage in the Midwest will let an estimated 25 million residents order products from more than a dozen major retailers and have them delivered the next day.

Google Express has already been available in certain metropolitan cities on either coast, but the expansion announced this week will open up residents of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin to a feature that offers quick shipping and will surely compete against Amazon’s popular Prime service.

“The intent here is how do we deliver overnight to big broad parts of America,” Mr. Elliott told Columbus Business First in central Ohio. “Being from the Midwest, it makes me excited personally.”

“We’re helping people connect with their favorite stores and brands while they get time back from their busy lives,” he explained in a statement. “We are a shopping delivery platform. We help users connect with retailers and brands they love.”

Stores including Ace Hardware, Barnes & Noble, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us and Staples have so far signed on to Express, and more than a dozen other stores will let Google users place online orders for next-day delivery. Each retailer will run specialized software inside their stores and arrange for delivery through either a service of its own or a third-party provider, Mr. Elliott told Business First.

Google said it’s broadening the service soon in San Francisco and another yet-to-be revealed location in order to offer same-day delivery of groceries, a feature that will put the billion-dollar tech titan at the core of an industry populated by small-time startups and Amazon’s own AmazonFresh. National chains Whole Foods and Costco will provide fresh groceries, Mr. Elliott told Bloomberg.

“For a lot of our merchants that have been successful with this, we’re not representing the whole store today,” he said. “It’s in our incentive, as well as the merchant’s incentive, for us to help customers get the full store delivered to them.”

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