Australians can now shop on eBay via Google Assistant

Alex Kidman 29 November 2017 NEWS

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eBay pre-empts Amazon's Alexa assistant by launching voice search with Google Assistant.

eBay has announced that, from today, customers with an Android device that includes Google Assistant will be able to directly query the Assistant to find purchases on the online marketplace, as well as inquire as to the value of their own goods if they fancy having an impromptu online garage sale.

Google's Assistant is found on a large number of Android devices running Android 7.0 or better, as well as the company's iconic Google Home and Google Home Mini intelligent speakers. Google Assistant is also available as a free download for iOS devices, although iOS users would be more familiar with Apple's inbuilt assistant, Siri.

The core idea here is that you'll pick an object you'd like to buy, ask the assistant to search eBay for it, and then it'll send its best choice directly to your phone, at which point you can decide whether or not you want to buy it. This is using Google's multi-surface switching technology to send data from one device running Assistant to another, and eBay is amongst the first to be utilising the technology in Australia.

Being a voice assistant, the first step to checking eBay is to invoke a search, using either "Hey Google, ask eBay" or "Hey Google, let me talk to eBay" as the start of your search query.

eBay is also incorporating a feature that will let Australians use voice to check the going price of items by asking what a given item is worth. As always, eBay prices can vary depending on whether sellers are offering straight "Buy it Now" sales or putting items up for auction, and with the expected-any-day-now-launch of Amazon locally, it's likely there will be plenty of competition in pricing for online retailers this festive season.

While it's not yet confirmed when Amazon will actually launch in Australia, it's widely expected that one of its launch devices will be its own range of Echo speakers which incorporate Amazon's Alexa voice assistant for direct shopping on Amazon via voice.

eBay's move to launch voice services with Google is canny given Amazon's reluctance to name a launch date, and the hype surrounding its non-appearance on Black Friday 2017.

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