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Hashtag Trending – Amazon’s cashier-less store, Canada tests blockchain, top tech firms could combine for $1 trillion in 2018

Amazon officially opens its first cashier-less store, the Canadian government tests out blockchain, and the top ten tech companies could combine for more than $1 trillion in sales by the end of the year.

Trending on Twitter today is reaction from the official opening of Amazon’s first cashier-less store in Seattle on Monday. While there are employees making food, stocking shelves, and helping customers, the store uses artificial intelligence, computer vision, and sensors instead of checkout cashiers to streamline the shopping experience. Users need to have the Amazon Go app, which is scanned by a turnstile at the front door when they walk in to shop. Cameras and sensors in the store track what users pick up and what they put back, and once they have everything they need, the customer’s app is scanned by the turnstile again as they leave and whatever they buy is charged to their Amazon account. Early reviews say everything worked properly and that the whole experience felt like a better version of the self-checkout kiosks most grocery stores have now. Prices were not overinflated, and the return policy is really just an instant refund if you indicate on your app that you’re not satisfied with a product.

Next, from Reddit, the Canadian government has launched a trial exploring the use of blockchain technology to make government research grant and funding information more transparent to the public. For those who are unaware, blockchain is a system of public ledgers that record transactions between many different users. Once data is entered into the chain, it is secure and permanently unchangeable. The National Research Council is using the Canadian-made Catena Blockchain Suite to publish funding and grant data in real time. Whenever a change is made to a grant or a new one is awarded to a company or individual, the information stored on the blockchain is updated and posted on an online database that can be accessed and viewed by anyone.

And lastly from LinkedIn is news that for the first time ever, the ten biggest US tech companies are expected to surpass $1 trillion in sales this year when all their yearly revenues are aggregated. According to analysts on Wall Street, the combined revenues of Apple, Amazon, Google parent company Alphabet, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, HP, Facebook, Cisco, and Oracle, will rise by more than 15 per cent this year to reach $1.078 trillion dollars by the end of 2018.