Internet search leader Google is moving beyond information retrieval into grocery delivery.
The new service, called Google Shopping Express, would start off providing same-day delivery of food and other products bought online by a small group of consumers in San Francisco and suburbs located south of the city. The Mountain View, Californian based company, did not say how many people would be part of the test.
If the pilot programme were to go well, Google Inc plans to extend delivery service to other markets.
"We hope this will help users explore the benefits of a local, same-day delivery service, and help us kick the tires on the new service," Google said in a statement yesterday.
The delivery service forms part of the internet search company's effort to enhance consumer reliance on the internet, so that it would have more opportunities to show online ads, which pulled in most of its revenue.
Google has learned that the more time people spent online, the likelier they would be to use its dominant search engine or other popular services, like its YouTube video site or Gmail that included advertising.
The delivery service is also expected to encourage merchants to go for online ads if Google's same-day delivery service saw more consumers shop online. Having to wait days or, in some cases, more than a week for the delivery of online orders remained one of the biggest drawbacks to internet shopping.
According to a web post by the company, a small number of testers (ages 18 and up) would be able to purchase goods online from retailers like Target, Staples and Walgreens and avail same-day delivery through a Google courier service.
According to the company, testers would get a ''free 6-month membership'' to the service; though it was silent on what this service would cost.
The testers could browse local stores to find what they needed, and they needed to only select a delivery window in order to take delivery of the goods the same day. According to a photo on the company's web site deliveries would run at least from 10 am to 9 pm.
Earlier this month, TechCrunch had reported that Google had a same-day delivery service under consideration, a move that would pit it against Amazon and retailers like Wal-Mart.