Exclusive: Tim Berners-Lee tells us his radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web

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With an ambitious decentralized platform, the father of the web hopes it’s game on for corporate tech giants like Facebook and Google.

Last week, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, asked me to come and see a project he has been working on almost as long as the web itself. It’s a crisp autumn day in Boston, where Berners-Lee works out of an office above a boxing gym. After politely offering me a cup of coffee, he leads us into a sparse conference room. At one end of a long table is a battered laptop covered with stickers. Here, on this computer, he is working on a plan to radically alter how all of us live and work on the web.

“The intent is world domination,” Berners-Lee says with a wry smile. The British-born scientist is known for his dry sense of humor. But in this case, he is not joking.

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Watch Amazon’s VR kiosks transform the future of shopping

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Amazon’s new VR store dispenses with the trappings of a shop in favor of fun — a city full of products to explore in themed rooms.

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Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it has opened virtual reality kiosks in 10 shopping malls to promote its upcoming Prime Day shopping event. Now you can see the Amazon VR experience for yourself. Prepare to be impressed: It’s significantly more elaborate than expected, and shows how a top retailer is transforming the future of shopping.

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Amazon patents aerial fulfillment centers for improved drone delivery

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Amazon’s drone-centric skyscrapers intended to replace traditional warehouses are old news. The tech giant just patented floating warehouses.

Last June, we reported on Amazon’s patent application for fulfillment center towers: skyscrapers that would replace the traditional warehouse model in favor of modern, drone-friendly versions that could serve as both charging hubs and convenient pitstops for delivery drones to pick up and drop off packages efficiently. According to a 2016 patent which the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the tech giant today, Amazon realized that making the fulfillment centers airborne, themselves, would serve as one last additional step toward maximizing the idea completely.

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Amazon, Alibaba and Nike all point to the next innovation in retail: Personalized physical spaces

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Last week I wrote a piece entitled, “Amazon Go Means Goodbye Status Quo.” The piece not only heaped praise on Amazon but also highlighted how Amazon Go, over the long-run, is about far more than the mere buzzwords of “checkout-free shopping.” The thesis is that if one studies Amazon Go closely, he or she will see that it already hints at the next great innovation in retail history: the personalized physical store.

While I expected and even predicted the news back in February that Amazon would roll out more stores this year, I did not expect, in less than one week from publishing this most recent Go piece, that new activities would emerge that would validate this thesis even further.

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The race to get tourists to suborbital space is heating up

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SPACE: FINAL FRONTIER or ultimate tourist destination? Possibly both—provided you have the cash.

Already, you can buy tickets for (as-yet-unscheduled) flights aboard SpaceShipTwo, the crew vehicle developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. And at a NewSpace conference in Seattle last month, Blue Origin—helmed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos—announced that it has plans to sell tickets to wannabe space tourists as early as next year.

Both companies have solid plans to cash in on human space travel (and then, of course, there’s SpaceX, which will focus first on shuttling astronauts to and from the space station). Branson has said that Virgin Galactic is in a race with itself, not other companies, to achieve safe human space flight. But with Blue Origin aiming to start selling tickets next year, both companies could be competing for business sooner rather than later.

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Amazon is recruiting people to start delivery businesses. Here’s why I think some people could get rich

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There’s risk in any business. But if you asked me to invest in a business with these built-in advantages, I’d certainly listen.

I know a lot of people who have made a ton of money on Amazon.

Now, Amazon says it wants to recruit entrepreneurs to build a national network of small, independent delivery companies–driving leased vans with Amazon branding. If you’ve aspired to start your own business, and you have leadership ability and access to a relatively small amount of capital, it could be well worth looking at.

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Jeff Bezos’Blue Origin will start selling tickets to space next year

Blue Origin, the space-tourism startup owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, says it will start selling passenger tickets for trips into space in 2019.

The timeline came from Blue Origin senior vice president Rob Meyerson, whose comments at an Amazon Web Services event were reported by Space News. Meyerson did not say how much the tickets would cost when they go on sale.

The company also plans to conduct crewed test flights of its New Shepard rocket “soon” — meaning Bezos’s company could, at least by one metric, get a jump on rival SpaceX.

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Smart speakers are becoming so popular, more people will use them than wearable tech products this year

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Smart speaker users will reach 76.5 million by 2020, according to the latest eMarketer forecast.

The average smart speaker user is still an older, millennial male, but the devices are gaining traction with younger, Gen X women with kids.

Amazon Echo is the most popular, but is losing share. Google Home will likely slow Echo’s growth.

Smart speaker adoption has been so strong, US adult users will surpass wearable users this year.

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Prime delivery, straight from the moon? Bezos dreams of heavy industry in space

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is convinced that one day “we are going to have to leave this planet.” And he believes that his Blue Origin space company can help make it happen.

Outlining his ambitious vision at the Space Development Conference in Los Angeles during a recent on-stage chat with GeekWire‘s Alan Boyle, Bezos said that, ideally, Blue Origin would collaborate with NASA or ESA, Europe’s space agency, to move toward his goal, though he said that if that doesn’t work out, his company would go it alone.

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Yes, Alexa is recording mundane details of your life, and it’s creepy as hell

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I’m not kicking our smart speaker out of the house just yet, but the consequences of having it in my family’s life are becoming clear.

Since last year I’ve had a smart speaker in my living room—an Echo Dot. My family uses it mostly to ask Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, to play music. But after I saw a report that an Alexa-enabled speaker owned by a family in Portland, Oregon, had recorded a conversation and sent it to a contact, I started wondering: what is it picking up on at my house when we’re not talking to it directly?

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How Amazon is using Whole Foods in a bid for total retail domination

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The Seattle giant believes selling you groceries is the key to selling you everything else.

At 9 a.m. on June 16, 2017, Whole Foods employees packed into the main level of the company’s Austin headquarters. Only an hour earlier Amazon had announced that it was acquiring the high-end natural grocer, and the corporate staffers were as shocked as the rest of the public. Amazon had been militant about leaks during the seven weeks that the two companies had been in negotiations, and the vast majority of those working inside the building had been unaware that the deal was afoot.

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Alibaba’s futuristic supermarket in China is way ahead of the US, with 30-minute deliveries and facial-recognition payment — and it shows where Amazon is likely to take Whole Foods

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The Chinese tech giant Alibaba is expanding aggressively into physical retail through investments in a variety of product categories to push its “New Retail” strategy of combining online and offline shopping.

Its most critical New Retail venture has been Hema Xiansheng, a futuristic supermarket launched in 2015 that offers free 30-minute delivery and payment using facial-recognition technology.

Deeply integrated with Alibaba’s technology and services, Hema provides a window into where Amazon may try to take Whole Foods in the future.

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