Being able to buy hundreds of millions of the most diverse products known to man online with a single click or tap from one’s couch, bathroom or on the go using a computer or smartphone, or even getting Alexa to do all the “heavy lifting” via voice interaction, is already crazy cool. Not to mention unimaginable just a few years ago.
But walking in and out of a physical store without ever sitting in line or employing any sort of conventional checkout methods is something else entirely. It’s pure and simple futuristic craziness.
Starting sometime in “early 2017”, the first Amazon Go location will open to the public at 2131 7th Ave, Seattle, on the corner of 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street. Currently, the one-of-a-kind shop is accessible to Amazon employees as part of a closed Beta program, where the lucky few can take the “world’s most advanced shopping technology” for a test drive.
For once, such a claim doesn’t feel artificially inflated or misrepresented, with “Just Walk Out” tech somehow automatically detecting when products are taken from or returned to shelves, keeping track of them in a virtual cart until you “just” leave the store, and your Amazon account is charged.
Obviously, there’s a free Amazon Go app you’ll have to download and fire up on a “supported smartphone” upon entering the grocery store of the future, but you don’t need to scan every sandwich you pick up and manually remove the cupcake you feel too guilty to buy from your e-cart.
Through the power of self-driving car-inspired computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning, the app will “just” know everything you do with the smartphone neatly tucked away, and require no checkout maneuvers when you “just walk out.” Simple, crazy convenient, but also kind of scary on multiple levels, don’t you think?