Walmart Debuts Voice-Assisted Grocery Shopping in U.S. Powered by Google

In an effort to compete with Amazon’s Alexa, Walmart has just introduced voice-activated grocery shopping powered by Google’s smart-home assistant, allowing shoppers in the U.S. to add items directly to their online shopping carts by saying “Hey Google, talk to Walmart,” Bloomberg is reporting.

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Starting this month, Walmart’s voice-shopping service will use information from customers’ prior purchases to help identify the correct brand and size, such as whether you drink 1% or skim milk without having to specify.

According to Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of digital operations, customers can tweak their orders at home or from their smartphone while on the go. “We’re kicking off the work with Google, adding others to the mix as time goes on,” Ward said:

For Alphabet Inc.’s Google, teaming with the world’s largest retailer could help its digital home assistant bridge the gap with Amazon’s Echo device, commonly known as Alexa. It won’t be easy: Amazon controlled 70 percent of the 66 million smart speaker devices installed in the U.S. as of December, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Google Home had just 24 percent.

A recent survey from consultant Bain & Co. has shown that only 4% of shoppers use voice assistants for grocery planning, which is merely a fraction of those who own smart speakers.