After months of speculation that Amazon would launch some sort of new real-world stores, the company announced Amazon Go on Monday.
The brick-and-mortar stores will require no human interaction. Instead, an Amazon Go app will let you into the small convenience store, keep track of what you take off the shelves and then charge it all to your Amazon account. No check-out, no lines, no jobs for cashiers.
The concept is cool and all, but we came up with a few other currently online-only companies we'd really like to see take the brick-and-mortar plunge:
Instagram: Just admit it, when you pick the perfect filter for that shot of wildflowers in bloom on your latest hike or yet another colorful sunset, you fantasize about your smartphone creation being ogled in a prestigious gallery. There are already plenty of ways to get physical prints of your best 'grams, but you know that if each town had a real-world gallery showing the best shots from its user base we'd all become even more obsessed with picking just the right filter.
Etsy: Look out, local craft fairs. If we really wanted to bring back local economies across the country, an Etsy storefront in each community could really put every town's untapped talent on display. Distribution would obviously need to be worked out to get all those nifty handmade goods onto shelves, but even a few regional real-world warehouse stores could go a long way to finding plenty of hip holiday gifts in one stop.
Pinterest: I know some of you have dreams about this. How great would it be to just reach into your phone's screen and grab all those perfect meals and home improvement projects from your Pinterest board and bring them into your life? A physical Pinterest superstore along the same lines as Ikea could put the Swedish home furnishing giant to shame. If you could get an amazing fat-burning chicken salad while picking up everything you need for your dream DIY bathroom makeover, why would you shop anywhere else? It's like Martha Stewart was crowdsourced.
YouTube: Don't worry. I'm not talking about bringing back Blockbuster. But isn't it a little annoying when you have to crowd around your friend's five-inch smartphone screen to analyze the latest viral Bigfoot video? Hey Google, how about installing "YouTube Cinema" booths across the US? Kind of like the private rooms popular in Japanese karaoke bars, these could be meeting places equipped with everything you need to experience what's trending. But you'd see it in widescreen, quantum dot HD with surround sound or even 3D (all connected to a Chromecast, no doubt) in the case of nifty videos like this one NASA shot on the International Space Station.
Google: While you're at it, Google, why not set up a real-world version of your central offering? Walk into a store, type in what you're looking for and it magically appears, right alongside tons of other offerings that are not at all what you were looking for.
So maybe this one isn't the best idea, but it's still preferable to any real-world experience I could come up with for Facebook or Twitter, which would certainly just turn into stores full of customers shouting at each other.