Amazon and Google took steps today in their continuous march to bring AI assistants Alexa and Google Assistant closer to consumers by partnering with big box stores. Kohl’s will now sell some Amazon products, including the Echo and Echo Dot, in 10 of its stores in Chicago and Los Angeles, while Google announced that Home Depot customers will be able to shop with Google Assistant and delivery service Google Express.
Google Express makes deliveries in the continental United States on the same day or later depending on location. Deliveries can be made with voice by speaking with Google Assistant or through the Express website. Voice deliveries from more than 50 major U.S. retailers with Google Home smart speakers first began in February, and Google has recruited some pretty powerful allies in its retail battle with Amazon.
According to the National Retail Federation’s list of Top 100 U.S. retailers, Google Express now works, or soon will work, with 3 of the top 5 retailers in the United States (Walmart is first, Costco is third, and Home Depot is fourth). Home Depot has more than 2,200 locations nationwide.
The news today is the latest battle for territory between Amazon and Google, two of the largest names in the race o put their AI assistants in your home, car, and workplace.
Last week, Amazon closed its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, giving the online retail giant more than 450 locations across the United States. On the day that sale was closed, Echo and Echo Dot devices were showcased prominently in the front of some Whole Foods stores, along with Amazon discounts on some grocery items.
Also last week, Alexa and Google Assistant were introduced as part of a broad range of products at IFA, a consumer electronics conference that started September 1 and wrapped up today in Berlin.
Alexa found a home in several new products, including the Lenovo Home Assistant, a home robot, Motorola’s Moto X4, and a Harman Kardon Allure smart speaker that beats the Invoke to market. Google Assistant was brought into a series of products as well, from washing machines and vacuums to a Sony speaker that looks an awful lot like Apple’s HomePod, which is due out later this year.
Google Assistant and Alexa together account for more than 90 percent of the U.S. smart speaker market. Analysis by eMarketer in May found that Amazon Echo devices make up more than 70 percent of the smart speaker market, while Google Home hovers near 24 percent.
Expect to see more news of this kind in the weeks to come: The fledgling smart speaker market may still be pretty new, but the biggest time of year for sales historically is the holiday season. The aforementioned Apple HomePod and Harman Kardon Invoke are expected to hit shelves before the end of the year.