The voice-based assistant, which is available on Google Home and Android devices, will draw on retailers’ local inventory data that they share with Google. It will adopt an affiliate-like model.

Google Assistant will soon begin drawing on the local inventory data that retailers share with Google to drive consumers to retailers’ stores, Jennifer Liu, Google’s director of Google Shopping said Tuesday at the search giant’s Marketing Next event.

The feature will enable a consumer to ask the Google Assistant for a nearby store that has a particular item in stock. In her presentation, for example, she asked Assistant where she could find a toy called Snap Circuits Jr. for her daughter’s sixth birthday present. Assistant then replied that it was in stock 2.6 miles away at a Barnes & Noble store for $29.95 before asking her if she wanted directions to the store. She said yes and Assistant downloaded the directions to her Google Home app. “Voila,” she said. “All without lifting a finger.”

Retailers currently share their inventory data with Google for the search giant’s local inventory ads. But, for now, the Assistant’s use of the data will not be tied to an ad format.

Instead, Google will adopt an affiliate-like model in which it gets a share of each sale in which it assists in driving a purchase, said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce. Retailers won’t be charged for having their business listed in Assistant suggestions, as the system draws on information it already uses in traditional search.


Assistant already supported some e-commerce functions, including allowing consumers to buy multiple items from multiple merchants in a single transaction through the Google Assistant via Google Express, the search giant’s delivery service that’s available in an app and online. A consumer also has the ability to add items to her shopping list that’s accessible across multiple surfaces such as her Home device and smartphone. However, this is the broadest push yet for Google as it seeks to challenge Inc., which has the early lead in the voice search market.