Amazon launched a new set of web-based tools for Amazon Mechanical Turk that make it easy for businesses to use Mechanical Turk to outsource work to an on-demand, scalable workforce via a simple graphical interface—in just a few minutes and without writing any code. The new web-based interface guides business users through the process of designing Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs), publishing up to hundreds of thousands of HITs simultaneously, monitoring worker activity, and retrieving work results. Previously, businesses without software development expertise or who didn’t have software development resources to spare either needed to individually enter and retrieve each HIT (which was time-consuming) or could not leverage Mechanical Turk for the thousands of tasks they needed done. These new web-based tools are now available in addition to the existing set of APIs software developers have been using to integrate Mechanical Turk into their applications. Businesses can take advantage of these new tools by visiting http://www.mturk.com. [Full Press Release]
The payment service, Checkout by Amazon, will allow online retailers to use Amazon’s one-click checkout system, calculate shipping costs and tax, as well as allow their customers to track shipments.
Out of the two announcements, the payment services service are the most interesting. Amazon gives its customers two options: Checkout by Amazon or Amazon Simple Pay. Simply Pay is basically a stripped-down version of the full Checkout package and doesn’t include the one-click checkout and most of the order management features such as calculating sales tax and shipping rates, creating packing slips, or collecting buyer feedback. Simple Pay, on the other hand, allows sellers to use more payment options, including credit cards and bank accounts. Checkout by Amazon can only accept credit cards.
These services are basically an extension of Amazon’s “Flexible Payment Service.” This service (which has been in beta for quite a while now) gives developers a set of API that hook into Amazon’s payment services. One area that Amazon is especially targeting with this is micro-payments.