Update: August 23, 2017: Google has announced a new partnership with Walmart, which will let you shop the retailer on Google Express starting in late September. You'll be able to link your Walmart account to your Google account to get recommendations based on what you've bought in-store. Another new perk: Google Express is waiving any delivery fees moving forward, so long as your order is above a store's minimum. Previously, free delivery was included in a $95 annual membership, so today's perk really sweetens the shopping deal.
This piece was originally published on August 14, 2017.
These days, my definition of "running errands" is far different than what it was three years ago. In 2014, it usually required several hours — and sometimes multiple subway stops — in order to cross everything off my list: buying groceries, hitting up the nearest drug store, and making a Target trek. Thanks to the steady expansion of same-day delivery services like Amazon Prime Now and Google Express, "running errands" now means all I have to do is spend a few minutes tapping away on my phone.
As of last November, Google Express, which began as Google Shopping Express in San Francisco in 2013, now operates across the entire continental U.S. With Express, you have access to an impressive roster of 28 stores, including Whole Foods, Walgreens, Target, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, as well as more niche offerings like Sur Le Table, Paragon Sports, and L'Occitane.
Amazon Prime Now launched in December 2014 and is available in 33 major U.S. cities. Only nine of those cities offer delivery options from non-Amazon stores, which differ depending on where you live. You can also use Prime Now to place a food order from a local restaurant, much like you would on Seamless or Grubhub.
Of course, the catch with both Amazon Prime Now and Google Express is that when you're out of something — especially an essential item like toilet paper — you want that replacement ASAP. With speed and convenience at the top of mind, I decided to test out both services to see which performed best.