Google has introduced the ability to buy items using your voice, through the Google Home smart speaker or Google Assistant on your compatible smartphone.

Thanks to an integration with Google's Express online shopping service, you can shop for your everyday essentials, whether it's paper towels or vitamins, and order them from participating retailers across the US using just your voice.

Saying something like "OK Google, order paper towels" results in Google Assistant placing an order for you, and a Google Express courier will then deliver the item. For most deliveries, orders take between 1-3 days, as Google has partnered with a number of US delivery services.

Some stores may sort out their own courier, and these orders can take a week or more to be delivered. 

Here's everything you need to know about how the feature, including how to set up payments and which retailers you buy from.

To get started, say “OK Google, how do I shop?” Due to a gradual rollout, the Google Home Express shopping feature may not always be available. If Google Assistant responds with "try shopping again tomorrow", try again the following day.

Set up payments

  • Open the Google Home app, tap Menu from the Home screen and verify the Google Account that is listed is the one you used to set up Google Home. From there, tap More settings.
  • Go to Google Account settings, tap Payments, then Get Started. You'll need to agree to Google's Terms of Service.
  • Choose your default payment method. If you have already added a payment method for Google Play or another Google service, you will be able to select that payment method. Otherwise, tap Add credit or debit card to add a new payment method.
  • Choose, or enter your delivery address. 
  • Select a Google Home you want to use to make orders through.
  • Allow Google Home to use your personal information. This is needed to determine products you've bought before and which stores you use.
  • For a step-by-step guide on how to set up payments, see Google's FAQ page.

Find and buy items

  • To buy an item, like paper towels, just say “OK Google, buy paper towels.” If you don't specify a store, results will based on your Google Express order history or from other participating stores that carry the item.
  • To buy an item, like paper towels, from a specific participating store, such as Costco, say "OK Google, buy paper towels from Costco" or "Purchase paper towels from Costco" or "Order paper towels from Costco".
  • For now you can order things that cost between $3.99 and more than $100 pre-tax. Right now, you cannot buy fresh produce, perishables, most clothing and accessory items, and furniture. The price you hear includes tax, which is determined by the location of the store.
  • You may be given a few suggestions. When you hear one you like, answer “Yes” to place the order. If you answer “No,” you’ll get another suggestion. If you say “No” a second time, you’ll find the item on your shopping list in the Google Home app. Your Google Home shopping list is saved in your Google Keep account. It is separate from a Google Express shopping list. 
  • If you have questions about your order or need help, contact the Google Home Express support specialists.

Track or cancel orders

  • You can check your order status on google.com/express or with the Google Express app.
  • You can check the status and details of your package in your order confirmation email or on your Google Express orders page. You’ll also get an email when your order is on its way.
  • To cancel your order, go to your Google Express orders page, or you can find where to cancel under Orders in your Google Express app. However, once the order has been prepared for delivery, it can’t be canceled.
  • For more information on Google Express orders, see Google's FAQ page.

Express is an Amazon Prime-like shopping service. It has an iOS app and Android app and is available on the web. It's straightforward to use and looks like any shopping site. 

Google originally charged a membership fee to use the service, but has since scrapped it. Instead, stores now have a minimum spend amount to qualify for free delivery. This is usually between $25-$35.

You can order from Walmart, Costco, Guitar Center, Kohl's, L'Occitane, Payless, PetSmart, Road Runner Sports, Sur La Table, Ulta, Walgreens, and Whole Foods anywhere in the US (except Alaska and Hawaii). However, there may be additional stores specific to your area.

At launch, Google Home Express shopping is only available in the US (except Alaska and Hawaii). There's no word yet on when or if it will come to the UK and Europe.

Check out Pocket-lint's guides for more handy things you can do: