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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Google launches Express delivery service

Paresh Dave Los Angeles Times

Google wants a piece of Amazon’s retail delivery business. On Tuesday, Google began offering consumers a subscription costing $95 a year, or $10 a month, to receive free same-day deliveries from a wide range of shops – similar to the $99 Amazon Prime.

Retailers participating in Google Express include Costco, Target, Smart & Final, Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods and Toys R Us. The service is seen as a competitor to delivery subscriptions such as ShopRunner and Amazon Prime, and Google’s prices and speed aim to undercut both of them.

To take advantage of the Google Express subscription, consumers visit a Google website and select what they want from which stores. Orders must be $15 or more before taxes; if they aren’t, consumers are dinged a $3 shipping fee.

The service is available in Chicago, Boston and Washington in addition to New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, where overnight and alcohol deliveries are also available. In Los Angeles, the service is limited to the Westside.

People new to Google Express can try a subscription for three months or pay $4.99 per shipment.

Other benefits of a subscription include being able to select delivery windows and sharing the membership with a family member. It’s unclear if Google will bundle access to music, movies and TV shows in the way that Amazon does for subscribers of its $99-a-year Prime service for free two-day shipping.

Same-day shipping costs $5.99 an order through Prime in select areas. Same-day shipping is free for people who upgrade to the $299-a-year Amazon Prime Fresh program, which allows for grocery purchases. Nonsubscribers pay at least $8.99 a shipment, plus 99 cents an item for most items.

ShopRunner charges $79 a year, or $8.95 a month, for free two-day shipping from a wide batch of online stores.

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