Google is bringing same-day delivery to the Southland in the first expansion of a test first launched by the Internet giant in the Bay Area.
For now, only Google employees in Santa Monica will be eligible for the trial run, though the company hopes to eventually extend the service to the general public. There are several hundred Google workers in the Los Angeles area.
When the program began in March in Northern California, only Google workers and a select group of applicants were allowed to participate in the pilot phase. But since September, customers from San Francisco to San Jose have been able to use the Google Shopping Express service.
More than 15 retailers, including Target, Whole Foods, Costco and Walgreens, are involved. Shoppers go to the Google Shopping Express website to compare products from participating brands before placing items into a single online "basket."
Users can pay shipping costs of $4.95 for each retailer from whom they make a purchase. Or they can sign up for a membership that offers unlimited same-day deliveries.
For now, Google is offering six months of free membership. The company has yet to determine how to price the membership once the trial run concludes.
Customers then choose a window of time for delivery. Goods are sent to customers in Google-branded Priuses or trucks driven either by Google employees or third-party couriers trained by the company.
So far, Google says it's received "great feedback" about the Bay Area service from shoppers and retailers alike.