Amazon now delivers stuff inside your home when you're not there

Amazon Key is now available for Prime members in the Twin Cities.

No more thief-tempting boxes on the doorstep, Amazon is now offering to leave packages inside your home.

The online giant announced the launch of Amazon Key on Wednesday, which is available in select locations across the country including the Twin Cities.

But if you want to allow a stranger into your home when you're not there, not only do you have to be a $99-a-year Prime member, you also have to pay the company $249.99.

That gets your the Amazon Key In-Home kit, comprising a smart lock that grants access the delivery person, and an Amazon Cloud Cam indoor security camera so you can keep an eye on them via a phone/tablet app while the delivery is being carried out.

The smart lock code can also be given out to basically anyone you want to give access to your home when you're not there, with Amazon using this to promote its "Home Services" program, which offers things like maid services and dog walkers.

This appears to be the next step in the ongoing battle between America's biggest retailers, with Amazon's announcement coming about 6 weeks after Walmart confirmed it's trialling a similar delivery service bringing groceries straight to your fridge while you're at work.

For all the qualms you might have about letting a stranger into your house, a survey a few years back revealed 23 million people have had packages stolen from doorsteps before they had a chance to open them, as the Huffington Post reports.

How does Amazon Key work?

The day of your delivery you'll receive a notification in the morning with a 4-hour delivery window when the driver will arrive at your home.

You'll then get a notification in your device saying "Arriving Now" when they get there, and you can choose to watch the delivery happening live.

Despite the smart lock, the delivery person will still knock first, and then requests to unlock your door with their handheld scanner.

Amazon then verifies the driver's near your door and the package is the right one, and then automatically turned on the Cloud Cam in your home and unlocks your door.

They'll then place the package just inside your door.

One worrying aspect of it is that the smart lock is not compatible with home security systems, with Amazon saying on its FAQ section that you'll need to disable it the morning of the delivery.

It does not address what happens if the delivery person comes face-to-face with a guard dog...

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