Google Express expands to multiple cities with new name, membership fees

Google's Shopping Express is going beyond the confines of California and New York, bringing with it a new name and membership pricing.

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Google's Shopping Express is now less of a mouthful as the company expands the service beyond the confines of California and New York.

On Monday, Google's Brian Elliott, Head of Partnerships at Google Shopping, announced that Google Shopping Express -- now known as Google Express -- is now expanding to three new cities: Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. In addition, 16 new merchants have been added to the roster, including Barnes & Noble, PetSmart, Vitamin Shoppe and Sports Authority.

Google Express aims to make "shopping your favorite local stores as easy and fast as shopping online, and to help you get what you need delivered the same day," -- in other words, to use e-commerce to bridge the purchasing gap between traditional outlets and the Web.

Google says that with the expansion, over seven million people can now access the same-day delivery service, and in Northern California almost 12 million citizens can use the firm's next-day service.

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This week, Google's Eric Schmidt gave a talk in Berlin and cited Amazon as the firm's biggest competior , but when talking to the Wall Street Journal, Sameer Samat, vice president of Google Shopping said that both Amazon and Alibaba are customers of Google, commenting:

"We have really good partnerships with both of these companies. They are advertising customers of Google. I don’t think we really look at it from the standpoint of rivalry. We have different ways of addressing consumers' needs and it’s good to have lots of choice."

However, same-day delivery doesn't come cheap. Google Express members must pay $95 a year, or $10/month. Alternatively, each order can be delivered for $4.99. A free trial lasts three months.

It remains to be seen how popular Google Express will be in the future, but Samat appears optimistic, saying:

"It’s a business that at scale can be, we believe, very attractive. We have to build and invest in the ecosystem to get to that point. The density of delivery is a big element of this, having more people participating. We've been adding additional well-known national and regional retail partners that represent different areas of consumer need. That gives the consumer wider choice, wider selection. That’s very important as well."

Read on: In Google's world

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