There are a few companies in the world that are synonymous with innovation.
Google, Tesla and Amazon come to mind. Tesla's focus is on transportation and energy, while Google's moonshot projects are more far-flung. The search engine giant has gotten into the idea of solar-powered hot air balloons to deliver Internet to rural areas, creating an airborne wind energy model via Makani kites, and even anti-aging research, to name just a few projects.
But while Google and its parent company Alphabet may have their heads in the clouds, it is Amazon that has its feet planted on the ground with new initiatives that promise more immediate results.
Here’s a look at what’s coming next in the worlds of finance, mortgage lending, online gaming and maybe even health care.
These 5 Amazon services are here or coming soon to rule your world!
More Amazon Go stores in 2018
Amazon’s newfangled idea of a cashier-less grocery looks set to spread its roots a little deeper later in 2018.
The e-commerce giant will open up to six additional Amazon Go stores this year, according to Recode.
Seattle and Los Angeles are the most likely locations for the new stores. The first Amazon Go store opened earlier this year in Amazon's Emerald City hometown.
Offering a novel way to shop, Go stores allow shoppers to scan their phone when entering to activate it as personal register. Then they can grab whatever they like and get automatically charged through a mobile payment system as they exit.
No need to wait in line to pay anymore!
GameOn: A new cloud-based gaming service for developers
The most recently announced service here is Amazon's GameOn. This cloud service will allow video game developers to seamlessly add leaderboards, competitions, invites, and giveaways into games.
Gaming has been an area of interest of interest for Amazon dating back to 2014, when it acquired Twitch, a live streaming video game platform.
Recently, Twitch announced Twitch Prime, which gives Amazon Prime customers access to free games to download each month.
TechCrunch reports the upcoming free games for the month of April will include:
- Tales from the Borderlands
- SteamWorld Dig 2
- Tokyo 42
Amazon wants in on the health technology business
Much like Apple, Amazon has its sights set on broad entry into the health care market.
Recently, Jeff Bezos & Co. hired a former Food and Drug Administration official with experience in giving consumers easier access to their medical records.
The new hire, Taha Kass-Hout, could also help the company clear regulatory hurdles if it were to bring new health products to market.
This is all part of a secret division at Amazon that’s been variously called “Grand Challenge” and “1492” in differing media reports.
Exactly what Amazon is up to in the health care space remains a mystery.
Report: New mortgage lending division in the works
Meanwhile, there’s apparently a newly formed mortgage lending division at Amazon, and it promises to give traditional lenders like banks, credit unions and online lenders a run for their money.
Jacob Gaffney, the Editor-in-Chief of HousingWire, reports the e-commerce giant is currently looking for someone to lead this hush-hush initiative.
That someone will likely be sourced from talent at the top 10 nonbank lenders, according to HousingWire.
Gaffney says he talked to one candidate who interviewed for the job and was offered the position, but ultimately turned it down.
Finally…introducing the Bank of Amazon?
Amazon is reportedly in the early stages of talking with banking giants about creating a hybrid checking account product aimed at its customer base, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The service wouldn’t compete with traditional banks as much as it would partner up with the industry.
Amazon is reportedly looking to pitch this account to those who can’t have or don’t want a traditional bank account.
Capital One and JP Morgan Chase are among the rumored partners who could be on board with the plan, according to the Journal.
However, we should note this plan is in the very earliest stages of consideration. There’s no word yet on whether the eventual product would allow customers to write checks, do online bill pay or get cash out of ATMs if and when it eventually arrives.