Devices like the Google Home are billed as AI-powered assistants that can help make your life easier, but that doesn’t mean Google’s intentions are entirely altruistic. That little speaker sitting in the corner is listening to you, and sending at least some of that data back to Google, which is now using that info to make it easier to buy things with your voice.
As part of Google’s new Shopping Actions program, the company is expanding the number of partners and retailers that can sell products using Google Search and the Google Assistant. The idea is that by combining these platforms into a more unified service, Google’s users may have an easier time buying things, using the same Google Express cart across all of Google’s various offerings.
The benefit to retailers is pretty obvious, because while Amazon’s smart speakers have had this functionality for quite some time, aside from a few one-off skills like ordering a pizza from Domino’s, Alexa really only supports buying things listed on Amazon.com. That’s why last year both Target and Amazon’s biggest competitor, Walmart, partnered with Google to sell products using Google Express. But now other major retailers, including Home Depot, Costco, and Ulta Beauty, are joining that list.
To anyone who has been following the boom of smart-speakers, this development probably isn’t a huge surprise, though it does put Google on a more level playing field against Amazon, which holds a 2-to-1 advantage over Google in the smart speaker market.
For everyone else, this just means you’re one step closer to having a body-less computer fulfill your every whim—and possibly drain your bank account.