The future of shopping

The future of shopping
Highlights

Dash Button It\'s called the Amazon Dash Button. It\'s a small plastic device with a button and a light. When you press the button, it sends a message to Amazon to order a refill of some product, like a new bottle of Tide laundry detergent or a new order of Gillette razor blades. And that\'s all it does. Dash Buttons have adhesive backs, and the idea is you\'d stick them near the place where you store each product.

Dash Button It's called the Amazon Dash Button. It's a small plastic device with a button and a light. When you press the button, it sends a message to Amazon to order a refill of some product, like a new bottle of Tide laundry detergent or a new order of Gillette razor blades. And that's all it does. Dash Buttons have adhesive backs, and the idea is you'd stick them near the place where you store each product.

So you'd put the Tide button on your washing machine, the Cascade soap button on your dishwasher, the Folgers coffee button on your coffee machine, and the Gillette razor button inside your medicine cabinet. That way, as soon as you notice you're running low, you can push the button to order more, saving you the minute or two it would take to browse Amazon's website to find that same product. We don't know if the Dash Buttons are going to be a big hit. But regardless, it's a good example of how the plummeting cost of computer chips can change how people interact with computers.
Amazon's website doesn't have a lot of technical details, but the Dash Button appears to be a tiny, battery-operated computer with a built-in wifi chip, capable of connecting to the internet, just like your laptop, iPad, and Kindle can. Echo the Siri/Cortana/Google now at home Recently, Amazon introduced Echo, a cylindrical device with a speaker, microphone and access to the cloud. It's essentially is Siri, Cortana and Google now – for your home. Just ask Echo questions from anywhere in the room and it responds. You can ask it for the weather, for example, or ask it a free-form question like "What is the capital of Texas?" Echo will even tell you a joke if you ask for one.
And Echo is connected to Amazon, so it can play music from Amazon Prime Music. You can shop for and purchase items from Amazon by speaking, if you so desire. For brick-and-mortar shopping, you can add items to a shopping list, and Echo dutifully remembers them. When you leave the house, you can see your list on your mobile device. Unfortunately though, it isn’t a great device.
According to CBS, “The central problem is that Echo, at least in its current state, just doesn't do very much. Some of the handiest queries you can throw at Echo include the weather and unit conversions, as in "how many tablespoons are in a cup?" It can also run a timer for you, another common kitchen task, as well as play a "flash briefing", which is a news report composed of the categories you are most interested in.”
Apparently Echo's vocabulary is limited. Echo cannot tell easily Googled facts like, "What's the world's largest cat." Probably because Echo doesn't Google, or Bing, for that matter. If it can't get the answer in Wikipedia, one will simply hear that the answer couldn't be found. And they'll hear that a lot. When you do stumble onto something Echo can tell you – typically, a straightforward fact such as, "When is John F Kennedy's birthday"—it'll feel like a minor victory. Indeed, Siri and Google Now are more helpful, and they're already in your pocket, begging the question of why you need Echo to begin with.
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