Amazon officially launched the Amazon Go app following more than a year of internal testing, making it available to all consumers in the United States on Sunday, a day before its first "Go" store is scheduled to open in Seattle, Washington. The Go service has already been available to select Amazon employees over the course of the last year and promises to revolutionize shopping by removing queues, cashiers, and even checkouts from the equation. The Android app is just a smaller part of the solution which is primarily enabled by a robust camera system installed inside every Amazon Go-ready store. The setup is supported by additional sensors and tracks the statuses of items inside a prepared location, noting when consumers pick them up but also detecting when they are returned, so as to only bill them for the goods they actually end up carrying outside of the shop.
The Seattle, Washington-based tech giant already described the basics of the solution a year ago but its newly launched app provides more insight in regards to how the service actually works. Having the app installed is required to enter an Amazon Go store as you'll have to use it to scan a QR code at its entrance. If you have any company that's helping you shop, you'll have to scan one code per every person you bring along. Once inside, you and your entourage (with valid QR codes) will be able to start picking items off of shelves, which will automatically add them to your virtual shopping cart. Returning the items to the same place will remove them from the digital bag, the app explains. The system is said to be extremely accurate but warns users not to be tricked into being courteous and fetch items for other shoppers as anything they pick up is what they'll end up paying for themselves.
More Amazon Go locations are expected to start operating later this year after the Seattle store opens its doors to the general public today. Walmart is presently said to be working on a similar checkout-free solution and at least one startup is also developing its own take on the idea, albeit with a larger focus on augmented reality.