Web

Amazon could deliver packages to your car trunk to beat ‘porch pirates’

2015 Mercedes Benz C250d
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Porch pirates. These are the annoying folks who go around nabbing uncollected packages left by delivery drivers outside people’s homes. Recent research showed that packages were stolen from a whopping 11 million U.S. homeowners in the space of 12 months. It’s a real headache for ecommerce giants like Amazon, but a downright migraine for customers who arrive home to find their delivery gone.

So, what to do? Amazon already has a few solutions in place, including a locker service at several thousand locations across the country. And now it’s in “advanced talks” with smart-license-plate firm Phrame that would allow delivery drivers to deposit packages in the trunk of your car, according to a CNBC report.

Phrame’s special license plate includes a secure box large enough to hold a car’s keys. The owner can unlock the box with their smartphone, and also grant access remotely to others, such as delivery personnel. The driver would locate the car using GPS, and the owner would receive real-time notifications telling them when their trunk has been locked and unlocked.

It’s actually not the first time Amazon has examined the possibility of delivering ordered items to a car. In 2015 the company tested a program in the German city of Munich that gave the delivery driver one-time keyless access to the trunk.

The idea of dropping off a package in the trunk of a car is certainly an interesting one, though Amazon’s biggest challenge may be persuading customers to entrust someone they don’t know with the keys to their vehicle. The firm would also have to encourage its online customers to fork out $150 for a Phrame license plate, though maybe Amazon could do a deal with the company and offer it to Prime customers at a discount.

CNBC’s unnamed source also claimed that Amazon is developing a smart-lock device that a homeowner can use to give one-time access to their house, enabling a delivery driver to leave the package inside rather than outside the property, protecting it from porch pirates as well as bad weather.

Rival company Walmart is already testing an inside-the-home delivery service using a smart lock. In fact, Walmart, which partnered with smart-home specialist August to run the trial, even has the delivery driver pop the goods into your fridge or pantry, so it’s already in place when you walk in the door.

Computing

Google Slides now auto-transcribes verbal presentations for real-time captions

A new feature for the Google Slides presentation software uses a computer's built-in microphone to transcribe the words of a speaker in real time, displaying them for everyone to see.
Smart Home

Keep an eye on your kingdom with the best home security cameras

When it comes to the best home security cameras, the choice often comes down to the one that simply knows how to stay out of your way. Here are some of our favorites, both indoor and outdoor.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Mobile

Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out family, individual, and prepaid

Verizon offers lots of plans for individuals, your family, and folks who want prepaid service. Here is everything you need to know about Verizon's plans, from data packages and smartphones to Big Red's prepaid plans.
Computing

Don't take your ISP's word for it: Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Mobile

Pixel 3, Home Hub, and Pixel Slate — our first look at all Google’s new devices

Google has taken the wraps off of a slew of new devices, including the Pixel 3 smartphones, Google Home Hub smart display, Google Pixel Slate tablet, and more. We were at the event, and took a ton of photos of all of Google's new products.
Mobile

PayPal will soon let you withdraw cash at Walmart, but there’s a catch

PayPal has teamed up with Walmart to allow its account holders to withdraw and deposit cash at the store. The service launches at all Walmart stores across the U.S. in early November, but there's a catch.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.
Cars

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
Computing

How to recover Google contacts

If you accidentally deleted an important person from your Google Contacts, they might not be lost forever. Recovering them is a fairly easy process -- as long as you do it quickly. Here's how.
Computing

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Computing

Your ‘Do Not Track’ tool might be helping websites track you, study says

New research from the "Do Not Track" features embedded in popular browsers are being ignored, opening up the possibility of consumers having their information targeted by specific ads based on their web histories and cookies.