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.
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.
We just received our Amazon Echo Look (it’s currently by invitation only), and here is our review based on our initial impressions. First and foremost, this thing is much smaller than we ever would have imagined. Second, it is a full-on Amazon Echo, with Alexa and all of her tricks packed into its diminutive body. And third, it’s both more, and less, of a privacy nightmare than we’d initially thought it would be. Lastly, it’s great for selfies!
We thought it was weird that Alexa will soon be able to detect your moods, and when we wrote about the hidden dangers of the Amazon Echo, we never dreamed that Amazon would up the ante by adding a hands-free video camera to the Echo! But that’s exactly what they’ve done with the Amazon Echo Look. And they expect you to use it in your bedroom, or bathroom, or wherever you get dressed, so that your Echo can give you wardrobe feedback with Amazon’s new Alexa-based ‘Style Check’ service.
Last month the Neitzel family of Dallas, Texas discovered that their 6-year-old daughter Brooke had ordered a doll house on Amazon by simply saying “Alexa, can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?” But that’s not all. When this story was picked up and reported on San Diego’s CW6 (stay classy, San Diego), CW6’s anchor Jim Patton said, on air, “I love the little girl, saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse’,” triggering a legion of Amazon Echos in the San Diego area to attempt to order a dollhouse of their own.
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.
People are starting to receive their preordered Amazon Echo Dots. The difference between the Echo Dot and the Echo Tap is basically that the Echo Tap is a wireless, portable Echo that is not voice-activated, while the Echo Dot is an Echo without a full speaker (the Echo Dot does have a small on-board speaker), that is voice-activated, and that you connect to either a wired or wireless bluetooth speaker of your own. But you can also use the Echo Dot as an extension for your Echo! (By the way, if your Echo Dot is hanging during wifi setup, we cover that too.)