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Albertsons-Google Venture Brings Tech Savvy to Grocery Shopping

Albertsons and Google are developing tech services to make grocery shopping more efficient.

Albertsons  (ACI) - Get Albertsons Cos. Inc. Report and Google  (GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class C Report on Tuesday unveiled a multiyear partnership in which the two companies aim to make Albertsons stores more technologically savvy for the benefit of shoppers.

The Boise, Idaho, grocery chain and the Mountain View, Calif., tech, search and advertising giant have been working together for a year to develop “technologies and services aimed at making the customer experience more efficient,” they said in a statement.

Some of the services Albertsons and Google plan to offer include:

- Shoppable maps with dynamic hyperlocal features

- AI-powered conversational commerce

- Predictive grocery-list building

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A spokeswoman for Google explained that the AI-powered conversational commerce function enables customers "to engage with a company or service easily. Could be via voice or text. So, for example, if I have a question about a product, I can send a message and ask directly versus searching around a website."

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The services use Google technologies including Google Search, Google Maps, Google Pay, Google Cloud, Vision AI, Recommendations AI, and Business Messages.

Albertsons has already introduced some of the services it has developed with Google. Customers can use Google’s Business Messages to “get up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccines" at Albertsons pharmacies,” the companies said.

That service became available earlier this month.

The new services will be available to Albertsons locations in 2,253 neighborhoods nationwide. 

The grocery chain operates stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia under the brand names Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, and Carrs.

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“In bringing together Google’s technology expertise with our commitment to customer-centric innovation, we’re providing our customers with a superior shopping experience no matter how they choose to shop with us,” Albertsons Executive Vice President and Chief Customer and Digital Officer Chris Rupp said.

At last check Albertsons shares were trading 0.7% lower at $19.61. They were up 12% in 2021 through Monday's close. 

Alphabet shares ticked up 0.3% to near $2,052.