• Amazon Go opened its first location in New York City, its 12th nationwide. Though initially meant to operate as “cashier-free,” the newest store will accept cash—a concession made after Amazon received criticism for what some consider to be a discriminatory practice.
  • Portal, Facebook’s smart screen-video chat device, will include Prime Video and new Alexa skills. Portal debuted in October 2018 and Facebook claims it has performed well. But given the ongoing uproar about Facebook’s privacy breaches, it’s possible that the Amazon partnership will persuade more skeptical consumers adopt the device.
  • Alexa is the newest employee at some fulfillment centers. Amazon introduced Alexa for ShippingEasy, a cloud-based service that streamlines ecommerce and logistics operations, back in September 2018. But voice command software, which can increase efficiency, is only available in about 25% of warehouses today, according to a survey by the Warehousing Education and Research Council and DC Velocity, an outlet covering news in the logistics industry.
  • Amazon Key is now compatible with Ford and Lincoln vehicles, allowing Amazon to deliver packages straight to shoppers’ cars. The service is already an option for consumers in 50 cities across the U.S. with more than two dozen car brands, and may provide a more secure option for some customers living in areas with a high frequency of package theft. As with other Amazon Key services, shoppers can track their packages on the Amazon Key app and are notified when their car has been both unlocked and relocked.
  • Amazon.ae, the company’s Middle East ecommerce site, is now live. The website is a rebranded version of the Dubai-based ecommerce company Souq, which Amazon acquired in March 2017 and which has grown to nearly 52 million global monthly visits on average during the past year. The site and corresponding app are now available in Arabic for its consumers, the majority of whom live in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.