Starting Monday, January 22nd at 7am, Seattle residents that have the Amazon Go app installed on their smartphones will be able to walk into the store and pick items off the shelf, place them in their basket/bag, and pay for them without ever having to interact with a casher or scan your items at a kiosk.
Amazon Go in practice sounds like the ultimate "Big Brother" grocery store. When first entering the store, you scan your smartphone (your unique QR code is generation by the complementary app) to alert your presence to the sensor-laden store. Once your smartphone is scanned, you are tracked using a bevy of cameras and sensors located throughout the store.
If you pick up an item to place in your bag, it is automatically added to your virtual shopping cart. If you change your mind, and decide to put the item back, it is removed from your shopping cart. It sounds simple, and in practice, it should be a boon for people that need to quickly stop to pick up a food or convenience item, then leave without having to wait in a long line.
For anyone that has gone to a grocery store -- or heaven forbid a Walmart -- to get a few items only to find that there are maybe two cash registers out of 20 open and all of the self-checkout lines are full, this is a gift from the digital gods.
GeekWire goes so far as to say that the accuracy of the Amazon Go virtual shopping cart is downright creepy in its ability to track items… and customers. "Tracking is precise enough to distinguish between multiple people standing side-by-side at a shelf, detecting which one picked up a yogurt or cupcake, for example, and which one was merely browsing," writes the publication. "The system also knows when people pick up items and put them back, ensuring that Amazon doesn’t dock anyone’s account for milk or chips when they simply wanted to read the label."
For those that live in the Seattle area and want to see what all the fuss is about, you can download the Amazon Go app for either iOS or Android and head on down to 2131 7th Avenue to try it out for yourself.