Friday Echo: Jeff Bezos talks Alexa


At Recode’s Code Conference 2016, Jeff Bezos has been talking about the AI, the Echo and Alexa:  Bezos acknowledged that the Echo team is comprised of over a thousand people and has been working on the project for over four years. Here’s

He goes on to say that:

“I think there are going to be a bunch of artificially intelligent agents in the world,” Bezos said. “There are going to be specialties, and you may not ask the same AI for everything. I bet the average household will use a number of these, but to me that’s a very exciting seed that we’ve planted. I love working on stuff like that, and the team is brilliant.” (Quoted in Venture Beat)

The idea of of multiple AI interfaces in a home is interesting. I use Google and Siri along with the Amazon Echo and the Tap – I just use them for different things. That may be the true wave of the future. For more, here is the video of Walt Moss berg’s interview with the Amazon CEO:

The phone versus the Echo – or is it: While Jeff Bezos noted at Code Conference 2016 that “voice interfaces won’t replace phones altogether” he did note that AI  as a field of interest is growing. However, in her annual Internet trends report, venture capitalist Mary Meeker points out that the Amazon Echo sales are growing just as iPhone sales are starting to fall. While our phone are always with us, as more and more Alexa enabled devices become integrated into more devices like the Triby and the new Pebble Core, part of the functions of our phones may be incorporated into other AI-enabled devices. Jefff Bezos thinks that Alexa has the potential to become the fourth pillar of Amazon, although some people think it needs to get better at search first.

More Home versus Echo: There has still been a lot of interest in the idea that Google Home will be competing with Alexa and the Amazon Echo. While we will have to wait and see on that front as the Home doesn’t actually exist as a finished product as yet, we are learning  more about the Home. Not surprisingly, the Home seems to be based on the existing Chromecast and not on Android. That probably means a cloud-based solution much like Google search. Given the price of the current Coogle Chromecast and Google audio what, that probably means that the Home will come in much cheaper than the Amazon Echo, depending on speaker quality.

Echo on the Web: Yes and No – This week, there was a big deal made out of the fact that there was an Echo Sim site up on the web at The truth is, that is a test site for developing Alexa skills. It is not intended as a “try-before-you-buy” site to see how the Echo works. Trust me, if they  worked as slow and as badly as that site does, I would have sent both the Echo and the Tap back in a heartbeat. Fortunately, the real devices are a lot better!

However, did you know that you can actually control your Amazon Echo or Amazon Tap from your web browser instead of your app? After you have your device set up and connected, log in to your Amazon account. Then go to in your browser. There, you will see the Alexa App info on your computer monitor. You can access also your info there, including your shopping and todo lists. Trust me, it is a lot easier to search through skills on the computer with a keyboard and mouse than it is trying to pinch and tap on the tiny screen,m especially now that Alexa has over 1,000 skills. (Found via How-to Geek)

Need more help with Alexa on your Echo or your Tap? Here’s the help page.

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