Google Invests Big in Shopping Express

Google seems determined to knock down every bastion of Amazon's domain, including product searches. Google is reportedly investing up to $500 million to expand Shopping Express, a service that lets users buy from local retailers through Google. Amazon has long been the go-to for consumers. It has adroitly expanded from selling books to just about everything else, including local groceries in some regions. But every search a consumer does on Amazon weakens Google's cashcow of selling ads alongside search results. Executives have not confirmed the exact amount Google is spending, but Shopping Express head Tom Fallows said, “You can very much expect that we are putting a lot of money into this.” Unlike with Amazon's operating system, Google is reportedly trying to position itself as an ally. Rather than building its own warehouses, it has partnerships with Target, Costco, Toys “R” Us and Whole Foods. But other brick-and-mortar retailers are suspect. Staples e-commerce chief Faisal Masud said “Why wouldn’t Google just eliminate the merchant from the middle?”