eBay launches AI-powered purchasing for Google Home

Online retailer partners with Google to allow Australian consumers to purchase gifts using voice assistant

Visual of the multi-surface switching capability being used by eBay to allow consumers to purchase via Google's virtual assistant
Visual of the multi-surface switching capability being used by eBay to allow consumers to purchase via Google's virtual assistant

EBay has teamed up with Google’s AI-powered virtual assistant to allow Australian consumers to buy directly from their Google Home and Android smartphone in time for Christmas.

Under the new partnership, which officially launched on 29 November, consumers can search eBay’s catalogue of 60 million listings by prefacing their request to Google Home or a compatible Android smartphone with ‘Ask eBay’ or ‘Talk to eBay’.  The online marketplace claimed it’s one of the first brands to take advantage of multi-surface switching capability, meaning users can carry a voice conversation on Google Assistant over to their phone and complete a purchase.

It’s also launched a new ‘What’s it worth’ function, which gives shoppers the ability to ask what something is worth on eBay.The capabilities take advantage of Google's artificial intelligence (AI) powered voice assistant.

EBay managing director of A/NZ markets, Tim MacKinnon, said the intention was to make shopping as straightforward as having a conversation.

“EBay has a long history of being the first to market with new innovations here in Australia, and our latest collaboration with Google is no exception,” he said. “EBay built this technology from the ground up and it’s the perfect example of how artificial intelligence is helping to make a truly personalised shopping experience.”

According to MacKinnon, multi-switching was made possible through the accumulation of unstructured data around Australian shopping.

“We are looking at the future of retail here, and we are excited to be at the early stages of this new commerce frontier,” he said.

MacKinnon also noted 80 of Australia’s 100 largest retailers are now represented on eBay, including Myer and Woolworths.

“This partnership expands our technological capabilities to provide even greater access for consumers,” he added.

Google launched its voice-powered Home speaker in Australia in July this year, nine months after its debut in the US. Among the list of compatible apps and products for the unit are Google Chromecast, the brand’s wireless video streaming dongle; Philips’ Hue smarthome offering; Wiz LED and Osram smartlight bulbs; Samsung’s SmartThings Hub; Hive thermostats; and appliances such as GE’s washing machine.

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