Amazon has earned plenty of sales from shoppers comparing its costs to those of the topics of the storage shelves in front of them.
Now the online retail monster has locked down a patent on engineering to prevent people from doing just that in its own stores.
The system, filed under the Orwellian title “Physical store online shopping control, ” would intercept certain URLs, search terms, and other web activity that takes place on its in-store Wi-Fi.
The document explains how that datum could potentially be used to send you a digital coupon to cover the cost discrepancies between a product in the storage and a cheaper give you might have viewed online.
Amazon could also dispatch a store employee to talk you out of a competitor’s bargain, indicate a complementary acquisition, or even simply block or redirect you from viewing online alternatives altogether.
Discounts are nice, but future prospects of Amazon effectively watching your telephone screen over your shoulder or avoiding you from recognizing certain pages is a bit flustering. Granted, were it to be implemented, you could easily avoid the system wholly by surfing on cell service rather than the building’s wireless network.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who’s famous for scheming out his business roadmap years in advance, first filed for the patent in 2012.
As with all patents, there’s no telling when or exactly how this tech might be implemented, if it is at all. Amazon’s push into physical storages is still very young so there may be a lot of growing to do first.
The patent is a bit ironic think that Amazon has spent times attaining tools designed to undercut traditional retailers. For instance, Amazon’s app lets you are only point your phone camera at an item or barcode to view its vying listing.
The company’s also been a staunch proponent of “net neutrality, ” the principle that internet service providers should treat all web traffic as equal and not, tell, block certain web pages in their own commercial interest.