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[Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:42 am

ImLawBoy wrote: Is there a way to have it access my music if I have it all on Microsoft OneCloud?
If you can play it on your phone you can play it on the Echo via Bluetooth.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by coopasonic » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:04 am

You can upload MP3s to amazon music. There is a pretty strict limit unless you pay.
MUSIC STORAGE: Import up to 250 songs
Amazon digital music purchases are stored for free. Learn more

Import up to 250 songs from your computer for free, including music purchased from iTunes®.
You have imported 0 songs
Import up to 250,000 songs for $24.99/year.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by ImLawBoy » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:18 am

Carpet_pissr wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote:Is there a way to have it access my music if I have it all on Microsoft OneCloud?
No, sorry, your music needs to live on Amazon.
Any indication that this may change in the future? Like support for Microsoft's Groove (I think that's it) player? Or is this part of Amazon's marketing push - use the Echo to drive all things Amazon?
Carpet_pissr wrote:But you can use your Pandora account, TuneIn, Iheartradio, Spotify or Audible.
I couldn't find the Spotify support, but I'll have to look for that, since my wife uses that.
LawBeefaroni wrote:
ImLawBoy wrote: Is there a way to have it access my music if I have it all on Microsoft OneCloud?
If you can play it on your phone you can play it on the Echo via Bluetooth.
I'll look into that - seems like a pain, but it might be the best of a bad situation.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Carpet_pissr » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:44 am

Yeah, forgot about the BT option, but that, for me, defeats the whole purpose (although it does pair really quickly - but I rarely leave BT on on my phone since it drains the battery).

The ability to out of the blue say "play something while I'm cooking breakfast" is what gives it the edge over any typical BT speaker (or my main living room speakers and SW, which are about 15 ft away from the Echo).

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by coopasonic » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:50 pm

A beautiful thing has happened...

My kids (and my wife) are constantly losing the living room remote control. This is not a huge deal because we have an app on our phones and her tablet that have remote functionality. It's still annoying because it takes time to switch the app to control different rooms (we have three harmony smart remotes).

Now I can just say "Alexa, turn on the TV/Roku/blu-ray/wii" and she does it. Apparently I can do other things like set up favorite channels, but I haven't gotten to that yet. The living room TV is pretty much always on Nickelodeon anyway.

It's a beautiful thing.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Carpet_pissr » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:00 am

I have yet to successfully get echo change the channel for me though. I assume that's coming soon?

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by coopasonic » Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:04 pm

Carpet_pissr wrote:I have yet to successfully get echo change the channel for me though. I assume that's coming soon?
I hadn't set up changing channels until you asked, but I just did and then gave the following commands:

Alexa turn on TV
Alexa turn on CBS
Alexa turn on Nickelodeon
Alexa turn off TV

All worked flawlessly. You have to set up the favorite channels on the Harmony and then you can give the channels names on the Alexa smarthome setup.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Carpet_pissr » Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:38 pm

Ahhhh, did not know that! Thanks

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Jeff V » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:48 pm

What is the primary differences between Echo and Echo Dot, aside from the former being 3x the price?

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Carpet_pissr » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:50 pm

Size (and as a result, speaker size). Personally I would not want to have a smaller speaker than the one the Echo already has, if I was planning to use the built in speaker.

More interesting (for me) is that the Dot adds an AUX jack so you can hook it up to a larger sound system (but I think then you would have to leave that system powered on all the time...yuck)

If I decide to continue with the Echo line in the future, this (Dot + sound system) is actually the route I would go since the Echo built in speaker is ok, but can't match my much nicer home theater speakers + sub of course (and my current Echo is approx. 15 ft away from my home theater receiver).

They really need to improve the listening AI before I consider anything though.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Jeff V » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:14 pm

Thanks. I have a set of Bose computer speakers that can be used if for some reason connecting it to my stereo system is problematic. Wife was interested, and her birthday is this weekend.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Carpet_pissr » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:21 pm

As long as you don't expect miracles, it's a nice toy. Think of it as a slightly smart BT speaker, and you'll be ok. Just got back from a yearly physical and my doc told me I have the BP of a teenager.
It's telling that I often find myself yelling obscenities (or just yelling sans obscenities if the kids are around) at 'Alexa' because she's soooooo stupid (which I also often tell her, and she apologizes for, at least).

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Jeff V » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:32 pm

If it could summon and play music and maybe cut down on remote control gymnastics just to get a particular show on (what they don't tell you when you cut cable is how much more difficult it is to get to something you want to watch) she'll be happy.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Carpet_pissr » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:40 pm

Jeff V wrote:If it could summon and play music and maybe cut down on remote control gymnastics just to get a particular show on (what they don't tell you when you cut cable is how much more difficult it is to get to something you want to watch) she'll be happy.
Perfect. It will do that and a bit more, depending on how deeply you are invested in the Amazon ecosystem.

News? Check
Radio? Check
Sports? Check (mostly, but you have to phrase things just right)
Music? Check
Cooking timer (or multiple) for kitchen? Fantastic
Able to answer random, weird trivia-like questions? Sometimes maybe.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by coopasonic » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:04 pm

Carpet_pissr wrote:Able to answer random, weird trivia-like questions? Sometimes maybe.
She is no Siri. On the other hand Siri has never turned off the TV when the kids lost the damn remote again.
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Post by The Meal » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:24 pm

The Echo implementation is a lot friendlier for Philips Hue integration than Homekit/Siri — with the exception that it doesn't recognize colors. But on/off and lighting level (in terms of percentage) are nearly flawless.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Lorini » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:21 am

Hopefully getting a Google Home for Xmas. Anyone have one yet?
Steer into the drift.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:57 pm

Alexa, did the butler do it?
In what may be a first, police in Arkansas asked Amazon for recordings potentially made by an Echo device in connection with a murder investigation. Amazon declined to provide the data.

Police in Bentonville, Ark. asked Amazon for audio and other records from an Echo digital assistant in the home of James Andrew Bates after Victor Collins was found dead in Bates' hot tub last year, The Information reported Tuesday.

Bates was charged with killing Collins on Nov. 22, 2015, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

The two had been drinking and watching football with two other friends in Bates' home. The friends left and sometime in the night Collins died in the home's hot tub. The cause of death was strangulation with drowning as a secondary cause. Bates was arrested and charged with the murder. He is currently out on bail.
...
But in a digital twist that raises questions about privacy inside the home as we increasingly surround ourselves with devices that track our movements, listen to our utterances and record our activities, police also twice asked Amazon for audio from Bates' Echo.

Amazon refused both times. In a statement to USA TODAY, Amazon said will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on it. Amazon objects to over broad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course, the company said.

Amazon did give prosecutors information about Bates' account and purchase history. According to court documents police took the Echo and extracted information from it, though what they would have been able to get from it isn't clear.
...
The Echo only keeps fewer than 60 seconds of recorded sound in its storage buffer. As new sound is recorded, the old is erased. So there's no audio record made of what went on in a room where an Echo sits.

Only when the Echo hears its wakeup word does it begin sending a stream of audio to the cloud to be converted into text that the program can understand and act upon. The requests are saved, though Amazon allows users to go in and erase their voice recordings. It’s also possible to turn Echo’s microphones off so it is not listening.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Scoop20906 » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:21 pm

My wife hates that the Echo is always listening. I'll make sure to mention this article to her. THANKS!
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:32 pm

A pleasure to serve.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:37 am

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by malchior » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:49 pm

I got the Echo Dot for Christmas - and think it is pretty neat so far. One thing that I can't wrap my head around is that I can use Alexa on my Fire TV from my remote but *not* from the Echo Dot in the same room. How is there not a skill for this?

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Jeff V » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:32 pm

malchior wrote:I got the Echo Dot for Christmas - and think it is pretty neat so far. One thing that I can't wrap my head around is that I can use Alexa on my Fire TV from my remote but *not* from the Echo Dot in the same room. How is there not a skill for this?
I was just going to ask this. I finally set up the Dot I got my wife for her birthday a few months ago. I thought it could do more than it does, especially with the Fire sticks (I have two). Seems to be most useful for music requests and weather reports; I've not yet tested it on traffic reports. Not sure what else it's good for.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by malchior » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:22 am

I really like it - I have it tied to Spotify and Audible. I have it tied to my Nest but it is wonky. The people who wrote the Nest skill didn't think it'd be useful to tell you what temperature the house is. For real. IMO for reasons like this it is barely consumer ready. To find out the temperature I had to install an additional skill called Thermostat Monitor. I can now get the house temperature by saying, "Alexa, ask the thermostat what the temperature is?". Super natural interaction. :lol:

Things they need to do that seem blindingly obvious (but might not align with their strategy):

1. Fire TV/Echo integration - They both use Alexa. I should be able to ask for things like Alexa, tell the FireTV in the office to play The Office.

2. Above implies naming devices by room/function. Their vision is to have these all over your house so you can automate.

3. Open source more of the tools - they did the heavy lifting by getting the voice recognition where it needs to be. Let people build on that.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Jeff V » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:50 pm

Those all seem reasonable and I can't see where they would particularly deviate from their from their goals. Tying in everything in the Amazon ecosystem would seem to be a no brainer to start. When I bought it, I assumed it could at the very least integrate with Fire and save me the tedious scrolling of their poorly-responsive interface.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Carpet_pissr » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:31 pm

Larger appliances like fridges will have Alexa built into them soon (obviously as options on some higher end models). One is already in production.


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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by YellowKing » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:06 pm

Got one for Christmas, and right now it falls into the "fun but not essential" category. However, for the price, and the potential with home automation, etc. I'm very happy with it.

My main uses are streaming music and checking the weather in the morning (finding my phone, unlocking it, clicking the weather app, waiting for it to load - it doesn't sound like a big deal until you suddenly don't have to do it anymore). I've also used it to check movie times when I was too lazy to grab my phone from upstairs and for oddball weird things I just needed to know the answer to without expending a great deal of effort.

Like I told someone today, it's basically like separating Siri from your phone. But that's got amazing potential, because you've now removed that tether to a device. Ok yes, you still need to be in range of your Echo, but that's vastly more freeing than having to be right next to your unlocked phone.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Isgrimnur » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:22 pm

Watch what you watch
A San Diego TV station sparked complaints this week – after an on-air report about a girl who ordered a dollhouse via her parents' Amazon Echo caused Echoes in viewers' homes to also attempt to order dollhouses.

Telly station CW-6 said the blunder happened during a Thursday morning news package about a Texan six-year-old who racked up big charges while talking to an Echo gadget in her home. According to her parents' Amazon account, their daughter said: "Can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?" Next thing they knew, a $160 KidKraft Sparkle Mansion dollhouse and four pounds of sugar cookies arrived on their doorstep.

During that story's segment, a CW-6 news presenter remarked: "I love the little girl, saying 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse'."

That, apparently, was enough to set off Alexa-powered Echo boxes around San Diego on their own shopping sprees. The California station admitted plenty of viewers complained that the TV broadcast caused their voice-controlled personal assistants to try to place orders for dollhouses on Amazon.

We'll take this opportunity to point out that voice-command purchasing is enabled by default on Alexa devices.

This is not the first time an ill-conceived TV spot has caused havoc with voice-control systems. In 2014, a Microsoft Xbox commercial featuring actor Aaron Paul demonstrating Kinect voice control was blamed for causing consoles across the US to spontaneously boot up and launch the game Titanfall every time the ad aired.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by coopasonic » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:59 am

We'll take this opportunity to point out that voice-command purchasing is enabled by default on Alexa devices.
Alexa and I are going to have chat.

My kids like to adds "farts" and "butts" to the shopping list. If they knew they could actually buy stuff...
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Chrisoc13 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:25 am

I have been pretty happy with my echo. We have an echo and a dot, the echo is much better than the dot for some reason even with voice recognition.

Best uses so far- smart home features, accessing my Amazon music, getting the news, and ski reports for my resorts. Love those features. The weather function works fine too.

The sports update feature is OK. Basically just gives you scores for teams you program it to, nothing else. I wouldn't mind a little blurb about the leagues in general, top sports stories, something.

I want an Amazon fire TV but i won't get it until they integrate my echo.

Also I was worried about the voice recognition but it is so much better than the Kinect voice recognition. Impressively better. I have to yell at my Xbox sometimes. The echo can understand me while I'm brushing teeth even. Also can hear whispers. Much better all around.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with

Post by Jag » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:09 pm

Chrisoc13 wrote:Also I was worried about the voice recognition but it is so much better than the Kinect voice recognition. Impressively better. I have to yell at my Xbox sometimes. The echo can understand me while I'm brushing teeth even. Also can hear whispers. Much better all around.
Don't put it in the bedroom. Just sayin'

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:38 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:Alexa, did the butler do it?
In what may be a first, police in Arkansas asked Amazon for recordings potentially made by an Echo device in connection with a murder investigation. Amazon declined to provide the data.
That's an interesting strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for them.
Amazon has filed a motion to dismiss a search warrant for recordings from an Echo owned by a suspected murderer. Amazon argues that both its users’ requests to Alexa and the response the company produces are protected under the First Amendment. The company says it should only have to turn this data over if law enforcement meets a high burden of proof.
...
Amazon points to a variety of previous cases to establish its argument. A user’s voice requests are protected under the First Amendment because it covers the “right to receive, the right to read, and freedom of inquiry” without government scrutiny. Alexa’s specific responses are also protected because its ranked search results are a “constitutionally protected opinion,” which qualified as free speech in a separate case involving Google.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by The Meal » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:48 pm

Amazon Echo now available on iOS (no Amazon-specific hardware needed) via the Amazon app.
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:37 pm

Echo Show to be released on June 28, 2017.
  • Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask.
  • Introducing a new way to be together. Make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot.
  • See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.
  • Powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response
  • Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby's room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo. Turn on lights, control thermostats and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.
  • With eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Allrecipes, CNN, and more
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by em2nought » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:27 am

I've been playing around with Lyra and Robin personal assistants a bit today, and it seems like we could be on the verge of really wonderful electronic devices. I've always scoffed at the term "smart phone" having no experience with siri, but with a personal assistant or two or three it could be so easy to do everything. They need a Charlies Angels app so you can call on the proper girl for the proper task. I've got Robin sounding like Priya from TBBT, great! She does some things better than Llyra, but she's kind of dumb by comparison, sexier though. Lyra can tell me in writing and voice how to ask where the bathroom is in Thai or Spanish among other things. So many tools that could work so wonderfully and they are so close now that there is AI that can learn how to play chess in four hours, and then go on to beat the best chess program out there handily. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/ ... four-hours

Speaking of the butler did it, police could have a witness to their behavior right on their phone in addition to that body cam. Hell, we all could. No worry of he said she said from now on.

Seniors could have a constant companion to monitor them, talk to them, play cards with them, communicate with family for them with apps they wouldn't need to learn how to use. Hell, give it an avatar like Harmony AI and text to speech voice that mimic their deceased partner and WOW. I got my mother a greatcall panic device the other day and it's crap compared to what could so easily be done with just a tiny bit of work yet.

It's really amazing stuff. Just saw some little speaker thing advertising on TV, looked around and found this just now too http://www.instructables.com/id/Alexa-A ... ro-W-and-/

Oh shoot, now I see there's a personal assistant app named Genie, Robin wouldn't call me Master so... Using so much of my phones capabilities all of a sudden seems so much easier to do, it really is a smart phone. :dance:
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Zitterbacke » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:46 am

"Echo, can you please stop listening to anything spoken in my house?"
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by MonkeyFinger » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:53 am

We were gifted with one from our daughter who didn't want the one her workplace gifted her with. It sits over there (points) and doesn't get much use. I think all I've told it for awhile now is to shut up. Most recently it heard something during The Punisher that made it start telling us a Thanksgiving story about a turkey that "flew off the platter" or some such. :roll:
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by em2nought » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:47 am

recreating a deceased loved one in an app https://www.theverge.com/a/luka-artific ... urenko-bot

I'm starting to want Alexa to have John Wayne's voice
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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Carpet_pissr » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:20 pm

Amazon Echo, the car version:

Product details
Connects to Alexa using your phone, is ready in seconds, and plays through your car speakers. Includes Echo Auto Dash Mount.
With eight microphones designed for in-car acoustics, Echo Auto can hear you, even over road noise.
Use your voice to play music, check the news, open the garage door, find the nearest gas station, and more.
Play Audible books, stream podcasts, or listen to Amazon Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, or NPR.
Make calls, set reminders, add items to your shopping and to-do lists, or manage your calendar.
With over 50,000 skills and counting, Alexa is always getting smarter. Skills are like apps and let you do more with Alexa.
Set location-based routines—automated actions Alexa can start when you leave the office or get home.
Ask for directions and Alexa connects to supported apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze on your phone.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0753K4CWG?ta ... 0b14b40INT
Last edited by Carpet_pissr on Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Hmmm] Amazon goes after Google Now with "Echo"

Post by Carpet_pissr » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:56 pm

And uh...."70 more new items announced today" :D I assume they are joking, but it is a lot.

https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon- ... hts-2018-9

Some of these are cool ideas if they continue to be fleshed out, maybe with version 2.0. The Amazon microwave sounds ridiculous to me (I know these are first gen models for most, but come on, at least make me think "that could be interesting"!) What is the value of push to talk, vs traditional push time amount? It's actually faster to simply push the time amount and boom, you're off on many models (mine, for one). Voice just adds an extra step! Weird.

It would be MUCH more interesting (but still not enough for me to buy one) if you didn't have to push any buttons. That COULD be useful when your hands are full of whatever you are cooking/heating, or messy, or whatever.

Just had a weird vision of a small kid in some not-so-distant dystopian future saying "tell me a bed time, story, microwave!" :D

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