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FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.
Once upon a time, shopping was a time-consuming endeavor. We had no choice but to actually get out of the house and physically travel to different stores to buy what we needed.
Then, the online shopping revolution occurred. Rather than traveling out of the house, all we now need to do is move ourselves up to our computers, and the shopping world is at our fingertips. Practically anything can be purchased over the Internet from a multitude of different Web sites. And Amazon, for example, has sought to be a one-stop shopping site, where countless thousands of items are available for purchase at any given moment, from books, to apparel, to electronics, to furniture, to food, to toys -- and the list goes on and on.
Now, Amazon seeks to start yet another online shopping revolution, with the recent unveiling of its Dash Button, according to Time.com. These buttons can be hung or stuck practically anywhere within the home. So, for example, if someone is running low on dishwashing soap, that person can simply push on the button near where that soap is kept -- and magic -- an order is sent to Amazon for a shipment of more of that soap.
The Dash Button is Wi-Fi enabled and connects to a smartphone using an Amazon app. The button reportedly allows purchasers to cancel orders within thirty minutes. More than 250 household products across more than a dozen brands that frequently need to be replenished are available currently as part of the Dash Button program.
When news of the Dash Button program first came out, there were some doubters who speculated that this was an April Fool's Day joke. However, an Amazon spokesperson reportedly confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the Dash Button is for real. For now, however, even if real, it only is accessible to Amazon Prime customers, and then, only by invitation. But if those customers like Dash Button, we can expect its reach to grow.
So, how easy does shopping really need to be? At this rate, some day we only will need to think about what we want to purchase, and it will show up right away at our doorstep. Indeed, it may show up there delivered by a drone; Amazon reportedly already has received approval to test drones at low altitudes in a rural part of Washington state.
While this blogger certainly loves the ease and convenience of online shopping, there still remains the simple joy of getting out of the house and going to a store or market and shopping in the real world, not cyberspace.
Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at email@example.com with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.