Photo via Andrew Hitchcock

The online grocery business is littered with the carcasses of old dot-coms, from HomeGrocer.com to Webvan to PublixDirect. But companies are still trying to crack the market. And the latest entrant may be a big one: Wal-Mart Stores. The retailer is planning to test a new online grocery delivery service in California, according to a report in Bloomberg News. Obviously, Amazon.com — whose Amazon Fresh service has operated in the Seattle area since 2007 — will be closely watching the moves of its brick-and-mortar rival.

There’s been plenty of speculation in the past that Amazon.com might expand its grocery delivery service, and Wal-Mart’s possible interest could help stoke the flames. Amazon announced plans to expand grocery delivery in the United Kingdom earlier this year, but it has always classified its Amazon Fresh operation in Seattle as a pilot program.

According to Bloomberg, Wal-Mart is testing the concept under the name “Project Titan” and an unidentified source tells the news service that the concept still may not go forward.

If they do push ahead, it will be interesting to see what brand they choose. After all, a catchy moniker (and some nicely polished trucks buzzing around the city) could go a long way to spreading the word.

Don’t count on either the Webvan or HomeGrocer.com brands re-emerging under Wal-Mart. Amazon.com owns both of those domains, with each site now displaying non-perishable food items like popcorn, cereal and coffee for sale.

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

 

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