December 7, 2022

When Amazon launched the Echo in 2014, both the e-commerce giant and media observers set the bar very high for the smart speaker. One publication likened the voice-assisted machine to something out of Star Trek while others called it the “computer of the future” that would soon be in every home. These predictions seemed reasonable enough as Amazon sold more than 5 million Echos in the device’s first two years on the market. By 2016, the Echo and its voice Continue reading

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January 5, 2021

More than one third of American households have a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Nest that can be activated by thousands of different voice commands. But in order to hear what we say, these devices also need to listen. This video looks at what big tech companies do with recorded smart speaker commands and how customers can opt out of sharing their data. 


  1. Why does Amazon collect recordings of voice commands made by customers to Continue reading
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October 17, 2019

With nearly 2 million employees on the payroll, McDonald’s is constantly hiring new people to work at its thousands of locations across the globe. So in recent years the fast food giant has streamlined its hiring process to accommodate online applicants, who tend to be younger and applying for their first jobs. Then last month, McDonald’s took this concept to the next level by announcing that people can now apply for jobs using voice commands through Amazon’s Alexa or Google Continue reading

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April 16, 2019

Last year consumers around the globe purchased more than 78 million smart speakers like the Amazon Echo. The e-commerce giant’s hit product is powered by Alexa, a voice-activated digital assistant that can respond to spoken commands. For example, ask Alexa what the weather is like and she will respond with the temperature as well as the chance for rain. In its marketing materials, Amazon says that Alexa “lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter.” But while many customers Continue reading

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August 28, 2018

A few years ago, many tech industry analysts predicted that the Amazon Echo would soon dominate the growing smart speaker market. After all, the voice-activated device accounted for more than 75 percent of market share as the company moved “tens of millions” of Echo products in 2017 alone. Consumers were also becoming more familiar with Alexa, the virtual assistant designed to answer questions and perform simple tasks like turning the lights on and off. Given these factors plus Amazon’s ever Continue reading

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