Google is useful for lots of things, ranging from discovering if your high school crush is still hot (she never is) to where to go for dinner to how to avoid getting lost. But one thing you might not expect it wants to do is sell you a car.
But it does. Very, very much.
Don’t believe us? Go run “toyota prius silicon valley” through Google, or if you’re the impatient type, just read the next sentence. You’ll see Google Shopping results. Click on those results and it’ll bring you to a page where you can search available inventory in that specific area. In fact, every time a new Toyota shows up in northern California, Google knows about it: You can find a car right down to its serial numbers. Currently this is limited to northern California, but that’s just because they’re working out the kinks.
Legally speaking, Google can’t sell cars directly. But what it can do is automate the process; check your credit, collect a deposit, and so on. It makes money by selling car dealerships the leads, and by collecting cash from them for having a customer show up and buy.
Apparently this will be rolling out to all of California soon, and the rest of the country later this year.