The bots are coming! The bots are coming! The news headlines scream that artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and online bots that do our bidding are on there way and will arrive any day now.
Maybe. But here and now we have cleverly designed little tools like PriceWatcher on the Mac. Imagine a few steps into the future when you can tell Siri to check on things for you and when the request happens, Siri comes back with a response. PriceWatcher is a bit like that already, but without Siri, of course.
Do. My. Bidding.
One of the functions we expect of online bots or any Mac app that can act as a bot or agent that retrieves information in the background is the ability to notify us when a mission is completed, or a specific objective has been reached.
PriceWatcher does that with iTunes and Amazon (and a few other stores). Of course, this is a very simplistic bot-like app but it does give us a gleam of what Siri and future functions can do for us. Enter an item from Amazon or iTunes and PriceWatcher, well, watches the price, constantly checking for changes.
If you’ve used Amazon or iTunes or shopped online in recent years you know there’s a disturbing trend of price changes. Amazon can make price changes by the moment, often pricing products up or down depending upon demand or inventory.
iTunes has specials on a regularly basis which can change the price tag instantly. You snooze you loose but who can afford the time necessary to check iTunes or Amazon for ongoing price changes?
That’s what PriceWatcher does. Once you’ve setup a product to be watched, PriceWatcher does the checking in the background and when a price changes enough to be triggered, you get a notification.
You can see where this bot-trend is going, right?
PriceWatcher’s interface displays price changes in red so it’s easy to follow, but if you don’t have the app visible on the Mac’s screen, have no feature. There are email alerts, too.
Extrapolate a year down the road and Siri could be involved in PriceWatcher whereby items can be setup to be checked using the Siri interface, and Siri can then tell you which ones have changed according to specific input and triggers.
This is the future, folks. It’s coming. But only parts of it are here now. PriceWatcher costs a few bucks which you’re likely to make back instantly with your first Amazon order after you’re notified of a price change.