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Google to begin delivering fresh groceries later this year

Express also expands into six states today

Google's same-day and next-day delivery service is starting to get into fresh groceries. According to Bloomberg, Google Express intends to offer fresh foods for delivery in two cities this year, starting with San Francisco. It'll be partnering with Whole Foods and Costco on the service, seemingly making pickups directly from their stores, rather than relying on warehouses, which Google has been moving away from over cost issues. Google Express already offers some boxed foods, but this will mark the first time that it's offered items like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Express come to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin

In addition to announcing its expansion into fresh groceries later this year, Google is also announcing an expansion of its existing service into parts of six states starting today. Those states are Illinois (outside of Chicago, which already had service), Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, all of which will primarily be offered next-day delivery. Google Express will otherwise work as it does elsewhere, offering residents a way to shop stores like Barnes & Noble, Kohl’s, PetSmart, and Walgreens through Google's website and then place orders for delivery. Customers can pay a delivery fee for every order or pay for a monthly or yearly subscription that allows them to receive free shipping on most orders.

Google Express has been built as Google's answer to Amazon Prime, and that's becoming even more true as Google chases Amazon into fresh grocery deliveries. Amazon Fresh is already up and running in parts of New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles, which puts Google behind the curve. But Amazon is by no means the dominant fresh grocery delivery company, and fresh grocery deliveries are by no means a proven business. That's likely why Google's fresh grocery trial is only starting in two cities, letting it make less of a commitment while figuring out how to make this into a viable offering.