FAA Greenlights Amazon’s Plan to Develop a Fleet of Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just approved Amazon’s plan to create a fleet of drones. The e-commerce company will still need to jump through some hoops before beginning limited tests of package delivery to U.S. customers. Amazon also has testing sites in Austria, Canada, the United Kingdom and other international locations but can only perform tests in the UK and U.S. Before drone delivery becomes widespread, the FAA must complete rules for remote identification and for letting drones fly above populated areas. Continue reading FAA Greenlights Amazon’s Plan to Develop a Fleet of Drones

Amazon Offers Same-Day Shipping For Low-Cost Products

Amazon is stepping up its e-commerce domination with same-day shipping, even for products that cost less than $5, according to analysts at Edgewater Research. Rather than having to combine your “add-on” item to a larger purchase in order to reach a $25 minimum order to qualify for Amazon Prime shipping deals, the company is providing members with free same-day shipping, even if the only item is a $2 roll of dental floss. Amazon’s willingness to lose money on such a model illustrates its desire to compete with stores like CVS, Target and Walmart, where consumers often go for convenient purchases. Continue reading Amazon Offers Same-Day Shipping For Low-Cost Products

Amazon Faces New Data Issues With Acquisition of PillPack

Amazon acquired online pharmacy PillPack for $1 billion, making it a direct threat to the more than $400 billion pharmaceutical industry. PillPack, a startup founded five years ago, pre-sorts medications and delivers them to customers’ homes in every U.S. state except Hawaii. With the purchase, Amazon will soon have the capability of shipping prescriptions overnight all over the U.S. The e-commerce behemoth will also now have a great deal of information about peoples’ health and prescriptions, a highly regulated arena. Continue reading Amazon Faces New Data Issues With Acquisition of PillPack

Pinterest and Google Compete to Offer the Top Visual Search

Pinterest is highlighting the “Search” and “Lens” features on its mobile apps, emphasizing its move into this arena. Lens, which was introduced to U.S. users this year, is a reverse image search tool that allows users to take a photograph of something and then use smart search to return pins with similar images and related design ideas. Lens is now available to users of the iOS application; Pinterest says it will soon launch the Android version. Google is also upgrading its visual search engine to compete in this space. Continue reading Pinterest and Google Compete to Offer the Top Visual Search

MasterCard Introduces Digital Wallet to Facebook Messenger

MasterCard just added its digital wallet MasterPass to Facebook Messenger, which will let consumers easily place online orders on the service. MasterPass is already available with FreshDirect and Subway, but is in its early stages of rollout. In related news, PayPal Holdings, which last year said would unveil its payment services on Facebook Messenger, will now unveil it on Alphabet’s Android Pay. Visa and MasterCard are also focused on expanding the consumer and merchant use of their digital wallets. Continue reading MasterCard Introduces Digital Wallet to Facebook Messenger

Google Home Adds Feature to Purchase Home Goods by Voice

Consumers can now use the voice-controlled Google Assistant on Google Home to order products and supplies and get them delivered within a few hours. The products and delivery times vary based on where the user lives, and Google has partnered with brands such as Costco, Walgreens and Whole Foods to supply the goods. Customers using the new feature either pay a delivery fee for each purchase or subscribe to the Google Express delivery service. The Amazon Echo smart speaker already has a voice-powered purchasing capability. Continue reading Google Home Adds Feature to Purchase Home Goods by Voice

Google Unveils Android Pay, Improvement Over Google Wallet

Google now offers Android Pay, a mobile phone payment service similar to Apple Pay. Android Pay works with Visa, American Express, Discover and MasterCard and can be used at more than one million retail locations in the U.S. Android Pay requires a phone that runs Android 4.4 KitKat or newer and has a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip, a feature of most Android phones in the last three years. Android Pay, available in the Google Play app store, will come preloaded in new Android phones. Continue reading Google Unveils Android Pay, Improvement Over Google Wallet

New Google Now API Could Impact the Future of Android Apps

Google will release an open API for the Google Now dashboard/personal assistant, which will allow developers to integrate their apps into the service. Android users might one day be able to get all of the relevant information from Google Now without ever having to open the apps. Currently, Google Now only pulls notifications from Google-based apps like Maps and Search, but another 40 third-party apps are in a pilot program to integrate their apps with Google Now. Continue reading New Google Now API Could Impact the Future of Android Apps

CES: The Quantified Self – Is There a Model for Making Money?

Is there a practical business model for wearables? A CES panel on “What’s New in the Quantified Self” did a deep dive on that question, with panelists drawing from their own early experiences. Engaging consumers with wearables is proving to be much more difficult than anticipated, say the panelists, who report that 85 percent of wearables are abandoned after one month. Success may rely on the industry identifying models that address interaction with data and long-term consumer engagement. Continue reading CES: The Quantified Self – Is There a Model for Making Money?

Study: Apple Pay Accounts for One Percent of Digital Payments

According to research firm ITG, Apple Pay already accounts for one percent of all digital payments. The mobile payments system, introduced in October, has experienced its greatest usage with Whole Foods, Walgreens and McDonald’s. ITG also explains that consumers using Apple Pay increased their spending and frequency of use, resulting in a sales jump for participating merchants. By comparison, Google Wallet was introduced more than three years ago, and currently holds about four percent of digital payments. Continue reading Study: Apple Pay Accounts for One Percent of Digital Payments

Google Moves Further into Retail with New Overnight Delivery

The search engine Google is adding overnight delivery to its shipping options in Northern California. From San Francisco to Berkeley, and soon other cities, Google promises to deliver items purchased by 7:00 pm to doorsteps the next day. Unlike Amazon’s massive warehouses, Google’s system utilizes chain stores such as Target and Walgreens to help fill orders. This delivery service may entice customers to search for products on Google rather than Amazon. Continue reading Google Moves Further into Retail with New Overnight Delivery

Google Tests Same-Day Delivery Service in Southern California

Google is expanding the test of its Google Shopping Express same-day delivery service by including company employees in the Santa Monica area. The test, which joins other similar programs such as eBay Now, Walmart to Go, and AmazonFresh, is an expansion of the pilot program it launched in the Bay Area last spring. Claiming it has received “great feedback” from shoppers and retailers in the San Francisco, Google has plans to eventually extend the service to the public. Continue reading Google Tests Same-Day Delivery Service in Southern California

Amazon Growing, But Will Need to Fend Off Google in Retail

Back in 1990, Walmart suprassed Kmart in sales. In 1992, it passed up Sears. By 2011, it had higher worldwide sales than the combined total sales of the next six biggest retailers: Kroger, Target, Walgreens, Costco, Home Depot and CVS. That same year, Amazon was 15th on the list of top retailers. This year, it’ll likely end up in the 7th spot, just a few billion behind Target. But is Google stealing online retail from Amazon? Continue reading Amazon Growing, But Will Need to Fend Off Google in Retail