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Google voice supermarket shopping...really?

The Connexion, Jun 12

Supermarket group Carrefour has announced it is working with tech giant Google to make France the second country to enable customers to order shopping using their voice and smart device.

The “voice assistant” on Google Android phones and its Home speakers - which is activated with the words “OK, Google” - is expected to be available for customers to order goods from Carrefour, from 2019 onwards.

Once the system is set up, customers will be able to dictate their shopping lists - including food purchases - to their Android smartphone or their Google Home smart speaker.

Goods ordered in this way will then be delivered by Carrefour to one of its nearby stores, to be picked up by the customer in one go.

This will be one of the first voice-activated shopping experiences to arrive in France, according to both companies in a joint press release issued this week, with France becoming only the second country - after the United States - to have this particular system in place.

And if Carrefour is not your supermarket of choice? Sébastien Missoffe, director of Google France, said: “Eventually, other supermarket brands will join [the voice ordering programme].”A spokesperson for Google France said: “France will be the second country in the world where will be offer this form of streamlined shopping experience.”

The announcement comes less than a year after Google announced a similar set-up with American supermarket group Walmart, in the United States.

The plans are said to be a way for the tech giant to compete with other similar companies, especially including online giant Amazon, which recently bought the Whole Foods supermarket chain and has been very open about its plans to enter the food shopping business.

[Carrefour have possibly underestimated the technical ability of the local market here, and perhaps Carrefour’s own ability to cope with the technology. This, at a time when self service tills are classed as bleeding edge, and pensioners still write out their cheques at the tills…really…? Ed]

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