Amazon Go real-world store allows you to shoplift all you want, but you'll pay for it later

Taking self-checkout to its logical conclusion

No amount of deals and advances in shipping technology can keep you from just driving to the damned store and buying that thing. Amazon knows this. And, Amazon, in its infinite capitalistic wisdom, has an answer to that conundrum: Amazon Go.

Announced via a simple YouTube video, Amazon Go is a real-life, brick-and-mortar grocery store based in Seattle, Washington that’s expected to open in early 2017. The online retail giant has brought the heady concepts of machine learning, computer vision and “sensor fusion” – ooh, a new buzzword to use – together to create an internet-connected supermarket.

The basic gist is that, with an Amazon Go app, folks can simply check into the Amazon Go store with a QR code scanner attached to a turnstiles. Then, every shelf in the store seems to be hooked up to a variety of sensors and cameras, so that it knows when you pick something up.

From there, Amazon Go automatically updates a temporary cart within the app that fills up as you shop. Once you leave with those items the same way you came in, your Amazon account is charged for the total. 

If you decide to put something back before you leave, s’all good – your temporary cart automatically updates any changes.

All of these bits of tech working together come under Amazon’s umbrella of what it calls “Just Walk Out Technology.” In other words, we’ve officially ran out of cool names for proprietary tech that isn’t actually proprietary at all.

While many balked at Amazon’s physical bookstores – though, its Dash buttons seem to be popular – Amazon Go looks as if the company is truly onto something. At the very least, Amazon has brought self-checkout at the grocery store to its logical conclusion way faster than any of us were expecting.

Look out for Amazon Go at 2131 7th Avenue in Seattle, Washington in early 2017 – or just wait until 2018 when this tech has taken over every supermarket you know.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joe has worked in games and technology media for nearly a decade for several publications. His writing has been featured in PC Magazine, AOL's Games.com, Laptop Magazine and Tom's Guide among others. Currently, Joe serves as TechRadar's Senior Editor, leading computing coverage specifically. Yes, that means he uses both macOS and Windows – every day.