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Google partners with Walmart for voice-activated shopping

Two of the biggest business success stories in U.S. history are joining forces, as Google and Walmart team up to enable the purchase of hundreds of thousands of products via smartphones and Google Home. The new service, set to launch in late September, will allow consumers to buy from Walmart using Google Assistant, a voice-activated service that works on Android phones, iPhones, and on Google Home.

Walmart is integrating its shopping software with Google Express, which is Google’s same-day delivery service. Customers will be shown recommendations based on their previous Walmart purchases. The retailer hopes Walmart customers will keep go-to shopping lists in Google Express in order to regularly replenish staples without a trip to the store.

The partnership is a way for the two companies to take on Amazon, which is a major competitor to both Google and Walmart. Amazon Echo is a direct competitor to Google Home, and offers voice-activated shopping. Walmart.com is one of the few e-commerce operations that has the power to take business away from Amazon.

“This is just the beginning,” said Walmart eCommmerce CEO Marc Lore, in a blog post. “Next year, we will also leverage our 4,700 U.S. stores and our fulfillment network to create customer experiences that don’t currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else, including choosing to pick up an order in store (often for a discount) or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.”

The goal of delivering fresh groceries is a direct attack on Amazon, which has been promoting its own food delivery service heavily, and has recently agreed to acquire Whole Foods Market.

Walmart is not the first major retailer to partner with Google. Target and Costco are also making their products available to consumers through Google Express, but Walmart is the first to announce voice-activated shopping.

Google is heavily invested in the goal of voice control for its connected devices. Just last week the company announced voice calling for Google Home. Right now the device can make outgoing calls (except to 911) but cannot receive calls.

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