Amazon aims to bring the world to users through its digital platform, offering users access to many things they aren’t currently able to do during the pandemic. Called Amazon Explore, this newly launched platform is described as an ‘interactive live streaming service’ for online shopping, discovering new places, and taking classes, among other things. Amazon Explore is currently offering these virtual experiences from places around the world.
Using the Internet as a substitute for real-life learning and interaction isn’t exactly new — in fact, there are already platforms where anyone can create educational content to share with others, for example, like Udemy. Amazon Explore joins these other offerings, enabling its existing users to find interactive experiences on its website, then sign up and pay for them using their Amazon accounts.
Amazon explains that Explore requires users to first find the experience they’re interested in, then to book a session with the person who is hosting those experiences. Most of these sessions will last between half and one hour, according to the company, which notes that the user must show up at their computer and sign in to their Amazon account by the time the session is scheduled to start.
The platform supports two-way audio and live streaming video through a webcam, all major browsers (Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox), but can only be accessed on a desktop or laptop, not on mobile devices. The hosts, Amazon notes, can be just about anyone, including teachers, tour guides, and even experts who work in real-life retail stores.
The idea is that, for example, you may not be able to physically visit a particular landmark or park on the other side of the world, but an expert on that destination can offer you a virtual, live experience, which is nearly as good as the real thing.
In most of these virtual experiences, Amazon explains that the host will be able to offer goods for sale to participants. For example, if you join a virtual experience to explore someone’s niche shop in a different country and spy something you like, you’ll be able to order it with your Amazon account and have it shipped to wherever you’re located.
Amazon Explore is currently available as a beta platform. Anyone can access the service through the new Explore portal to check out the virtual experience opportunities.