Earlier this week, Amazon unveiled Amazon One: new technology for its Amazon Go stores that lets shoppers pay for their groceries by scanning the palm of their hand. By analyzing the shape of your hand and the unique configuration of veins under your skin, Amazon says its technology can verify your identity the same way facial recognition does.
Although Amazon One will initially be used for payments only, it’s clear the tech giant has much bigger ambitions for this hardware. In the future, it says, Amazon One could not only be used for shopping but as a replacement for tickets at music and sporting events, and as an alternative to your office keycard, letting you scan in with a swipe of your hand. In other words, Amazon One isn’t a payment technology. It’s an identity technology, and one that could give Amazon more reach into your life than ever before.
Understandably, some experts are skeptical about Amazon’s claims of convenience, and worry about a company with a spotty track record on privacy becoming the controller of a new identity standard. Whether it’s Amazon’s use of biased facial recognition algorithms or its ambitions to grow a network of home surveillance cameras, this is an organization that has proved many times that individual privacy is not always its biggest concern. Is it a good idea if Amazon knows exactly who you are from the palm of your hand?
Let’s start by looking at the technology itself, which is blessedly straightforward. Palm scanning has been around for years, and although Amazon isn’t offering many details on its own implementation, it looks to be similar to examples of the tech we’ve seen before.
As the company explains on its FAQ page, the
IronSource is introducing LevelPlay as a broadly available tool to help smaller mobile game and app developers generate higher revenues from advertising.
Launched a year ago, LevelPlay is an in-app bidding tool that is now automatically enabled for every developer, giving them instant access to all bidding networks. Only the biggest publishers previously had access to LevelPlay as the company refined the technology for automating monetization.
In-app bidding flattens the traditional ad waterfall, allowing every demand source to bid for an available impression simultaneously, in real time. This shift speeds things up and increases competition for available ad impressions, which can in turn lead to an increase in revenue.
It means that at the very last second, LevelPlay can insert an ad that might generate more money than another ad would have. LevelPlay helps create more competition among advertisers looking to insert ads into developers’ apps and games. But it also runs the risk of slowing the app or game down, so it has to be handled just right.
“We’ve been working very hard with publishers to promote this agenda for all the industry to take the next step,” said IronSource VP of product Nimrod Zuta in an interview with GamesBeat. “And we believe we’ve made it. The result should be better monetization for app and game companies.”
The mobile advertising industry is facing a lot of uncertainty now that Apple has decided to make targeting individual users harder in the name of protecting user privacy. In a few months, Apple is effectively retiring the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). This will make it tougher for companies to decide whether to bid to get a particular ad in front of a particular user. But companies will still be able to determine whether an advertiser should bid on a user based on