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USA Today reports that Amazon “has been quietly expanding a program over the past few months in which some of its delivery providers take a picture of where they put your package. The photo is included in the notice of delivery received by shoppers so they know when it arrived and where to look for it.”

While the program - from which shoppers are able to opt-out - is designed to both help consumers know where packages have been left and force delivery personnel to prove they’ve actually made deliveries, the story says that “the service also highlights the growing, if still small, reach of Amazon Logistics, the Amazon-controlled delivery network that is distinct from companies such as UPS, the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx with which Amazon contracts for the lion’s share of its U.S. deliveries … The service is only active with packages delivered via Amazon's Amazon Logistics delivery system, which include Amazon Delivery Service Providers and Amazon Flex drivers. You can tell them apart because Amazon DSP deliveries usually come in white vans while Flex drivers use their personal vehicles.”

And, the story says, “The feature rolls out as Amazon increasingly asks its customers to accept its constant presence in their homes, from a voice-activated speaker that records snippets of commands to a high-tech entry system that allows delivery personnel to enter their home.”
KC's View:
To me, this story speaks to the big game being played by some companies, as they look beyond the four walls of the supermarket and work to figure out ways they can integrate themselves into the home in increasingly intimate - some will say insidious - says.

Amazon is not alone.

There’s another story, in The Verge about how “Google Assistant-enabled devices now support August DoorSense, the smart lock company’s smart integrated sensor. Now if a user has DoorSense installed, they can check with Google Assistant whether their door is closed and locked.” Not hard to imagine that at some point, people using Google Assistant will be able to let delivery people into their houses and then make sure they leave.

Of course, all this also means increasing competition. The Verge also had a story about how Amazon, the everything, isn’t willing to carry everything - it no longer will sell Nest products, like its smart thermostat. Nest is owned by Google, and this “marks just the latest development in the acrimonious, anti-consumer feud between Amazon and Google. Nest was absorbed back into Google last month after spending three years as a standalone Alphabet subsidiary … Amazon has steadfastly refused to sell some Google-branded products like the Google Home voice assistant speaker and the company’s Pixel smartphones.”

Investor Place argues that all these moves have an obvious endgame: “Amazon wants to own your home, figuratively of course, providing consumers with an Amazon-controlled smart home.”

But, of course, Google would like exactly the same thing.

The innovative, progressive companies are trying to connect the dots in ways that I fear that traditional companies may not be thinking about, and this could end up being a competitive handicap down the road.