Google vs Amazon? Fare game

An Amazon Fresh delivery truck

They’re worth over $360bn (£232bn) and $248bn respectively, and don’t look like scaling down any time this millennium – so it’s no surprise that Google and Amazon have both now got an eye on America’s vast $10.9bn online food industry…

Google Inc.’s self proclaimed mission is to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. It’s probably fair then to say the company’s announcement that it will trial a food and groceries delivery service in San Francisco is somewhat surprising. However, take into consideration the worth of the American online food industry (now estimated at $10.9bn) and it’s slightly less of a shock. Google Express has existed since 2013 but the decision to deliver fresh food and groceries is a new one. Brian Elliott, general manager of Google Express announced that Whole Foods and American wholesale star Costco will be among partners for the new service.

The move puts Google in direct competition with Amazon, who launched their own grocery delivery service AmazonFresh in 2006, a rivalry that has been approaching boiling point for sometime now. At an event in Berlin in October 2014, Google chairman Eric Schmidt dropped a hint at things to come. “Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon,” he said. “People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon.” This is telling of  what now seems to be Google’s long term goal, increasing the number of direct sales made on its own site.

Amazon, meanwhile, has audacious plans of its own. As well as preparing to launch AmazonFresh in the UK (despite damning online reports stateside of missing groceries), it’s created a new division called Amazon Restaurants, not unlike the UK service Deliveroo, it allows customers in the US can order delivery from highly rated restaurants in their area via the web retail giant’s Prime Now app.

Certainly food for thought for other web behemoths…

For more on Google see:

Google boss Matt Brittin: Internationalism is key to business strategy

Start-ups can learn from Google shake-up


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Alexander Parker

Alexander Parker

Alexander Parker is a freelance writer and filmmaker.

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