Amazon has announced that they are working on Alexa enabled wireless earbuds (Echobuds? Alexabuds? Earechos?), and that they should be available as soon as the second half of 2019 (Alexa enabled headphone and earphones have been around for a while). However, the term ‘Alexa-enabled’ may be misleading.
Earlier this week we wrote about what Amazon is recording and storing for their use when you talk to Alexa on your Amazon Echo device. We also told you how to delete those recordings. Today we’re going to give you some real-life examples of how such recordings are being used in criminal proceedings. And of course the same can be true for Google Home recordings, Fitbit tracking, and any other smart device that tracks your movements or records your voice (or both).
Usually we are writing about how to add or enable new skills and party tricks for Alexa to show off with your Amazon Echo. However, it may be that you want to remove skills from your Alexa’s list of skills, and don’t want to have to go through the agonizing 4-step process required through the Alexa app in order to disable each and every skill.
Amazon has just announced that Alexa can now use custom created skills – meaning skills created by you. Not only that, the Amazon Echo team has made it super easy for you to create those Alexa skills by launching Alexa Skill Blueprints (‘Alexa Blueprints’ for short). Alexa Blueprints are fill-in-the-blank templates that you edit online, in your Amazon account, which, once saved, you access through your Echo. It all sounds so peachy keen. But there’s a gotcha.
Remember Zork? Amazon has decided to breathe new life into adventure games by debuting an old-style interactive adventure game on a new-fangled device: the Amazon Echo. Actually, the Alexa adventure game, called The Magic Door, has been around since 2017, however Amazon has started pushing it a bit more recently.
Are Amazon Echo’s Alexa, Google Home’s, er, Google, and the iPhone’s Siri making people less polite in general, and making children less polite in particular? Given that none of these personal assistants require any manners, some fear that they are.
Trekkies across the country are rejoicing at hearing that as of today Amazon has added a new ‘wake word’ to their Echo’s vocabulary: computer. (The other three options to wake up your Echo are ‘Alexa’, ‘Echo’, and ‘Amazon’.) Here’s how to change your wake word and make your Echo respond to the word ‘computer’.
Amazon launched their Amazon Music Unlimited (AMU) service just a few weeks ago. This is Amazon’s entry into the streaming music market, to compete with the likes of Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and Google Music, and maybe even to one-up them with the exclusive Amazon Music Unlimited Side-by-Side feature where the artists talk about their music (we include a list of Side-by-Side artists and music below).
An Amazon insider has told MIT’s Technology Review that Amazon is gearing up the Echo to enable Alexa to be able to detect your mood. So, for example, if you are in a bad mood when interacting with Alexa, your Echo will detect that and respond accordingly.
It has been exactly a year since we first unboxed and reviewed the Amazon Echo, and Siri’s cousin, Alexa. In that year, Alexa has learned many new tricks (mostly through having acquired new “skills”), as well as having a baby (Amazon Dot) and a low-energy clone (Amazon Tap). Here are some of the new tricks that Alexa has learned in the past year.