Tag Archive for ‘Alexa’

Amazon Announces Updated Eero Router ➝

Eero was my go to router hardware before they were acquired by Amazon. But unfortunately Amazon had to add a bunch of Alexa cruft to the product, which I’d prefer to keep out of my house. Now, when it’s time for me to purchase a new router setup, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Hopefully my current Eero routers will last a good number of years and maybe there will be some well-designed,rock-solid competition at that point.

➝ Source: theverge.com

An Amazon Team Reviews Recordings From Echo Devices ➝

Matt Day, Giles Turner, and Natalia Drozdiak, reporting for Bloomberg:

Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.

I’m glad I bought HomePods.

Google Assistant Tops Loup Ventures’ Tests, Siri Shows Greatest Improvement ➝

Gene Munster and Will Thompson:

We asked Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Cortana 800 questions each. This time, Google Assistant was able to answer 86% of them correctly vs. Siri at 79%, Alexa at 61%, and Cortana at 52%.

Their results show that Siri has improved at a rate greater than any other assistant since the last time they tested. That feels right to me. I haven’t documented my results and it’s entirely anecdotal, but Siri feels a lot better to me today than it did last year.

It’s also worth noting that, when it comes to accuracy, Google Assistant is on top followed by Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. That runs counter to what most people talking about these services tend to claim. That could mean that these results are flawed or that everyone believes that Amazon is ahead when they actually aren’t.

I suspect they are accurate, though. Keep in mind, Google was tinkering with voice recognition services back in 2007 when they launched GOOG-411. Amazon didn’t start working on Alexa until sometime around 2010.

Amazon’s Echo Is a Glorified Clock Radio ➝

Alexander Acimen, writing for Quartz:

I can’t imagine that the designers at Amazon would have been thrilled with the minor achievement of having assembled the world’s foremost clock radio when they built the Amazon Echo, a smart home hub that came out in 2015. But what else could they possibly have expected after packing this little device with a prodigious number of useless easter eggs and yet somehow overlooking a glaring, Death Star-level flaw: the Echo uses Bing instead of Google. […]

This reality doesn’t bode well for Alexa, because her response to 95% of basic search queries is “I can’t find the answer to the question I heard.” It is a phrase that Alexa owners are all too familiar with. It is a phrase you hear again, and again, and again, and soon you will feel that time has stopped, and you will never want to look up anything on the internet ever again. There is a reason that the phrase “to google” has universally come to mean looking up on the internet. It is because Google is the most reliable search engine. At best, and Bing looks like an ad pages site posing as a search engine.

There are some kind words about the Echo in the last two paragraphs, but overall, this is a pretty scathing review of the product. Perhaps Siri isn’t the worst voice assistant on the market.

(Via Matt Birchler.)

The Humor of Digital Assistants ➝

Nick Bilton discusses the importance of Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Now’s sense of humor.