Amazon Alexa

Female voice assistants are sexist argues new UN report

Female voice assistants are sexist argues new UN report

Obsequious, coy, and above all female virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant are a widespread example of sexism, a new UN report argues, blasting gender bias coded into tech products. The use of default female voices for digital assistants, and their programmed reactions to insults and inappropriate requests, could be contributing to a growing gender gap, it's suggested.

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Always-listening Alexa could skip the wake word – if you trusted it

Always-listening Alexa could skip the wake word – if you trusted it

A newly published Amazon patent application details technology that would enable Alexa to listen to what you say before you summon her. The 'pre-wakework speech processing' ability would support phrases that put the wake word ('Alexa,' for example) after the command instead of before it. The technology would fix the 'problem' of clunky wake word placement in phrases.

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LG AI ThinQ TVs get Amazon Alexa support on 2019 models

LG AI ThinQ TVs get Amazon Alexa support on 2019 models

TVs are no longer what they were just a few years ago. Never mind how some have become so thin that they almost disappear into walls, they've also become so intelligent they could become the hub of modern smart homes. Many of them, however, can't do it alone and require the help of some AI assistant. That's why LG is rolling out support for Amazon Alexa to its 2019 TVs under its AI ThinQ smart brand.

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Amazon Alexa reportedly has no option to stop recording commands

Amazon Alexa reportedly has no option to stop recording commands

Smart speakers and their cousins smart displays and smart thermostats are the new darlings of the consumer tech market. The convenience and sometimes entertainment provided by these products and services seem to outweigh privacy concerns in users' minds. Many simply accept that companies need them to improve their service and presume said companies will protect their privacy. That's not always the case and, thanks to a series of reports from various news sources, Amazon's Alexa might come out as the worst offender.

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Alexa Routines can now automatically play after alarm clocks

Alexa Routines can now automatically play after alarm clocks

Alexa is about to receive an update that improve Routines for users who schedule their favorite actions. One particular change went live today, adding the option to trigger routines a certain amount of time after an alarm goes off. In the near future, Alexa users will also be able to link their routines to sunrise and sunset, among other things.

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Amazon is preparing Alexa Spanish support in the US

Amazon is preparing Alexa Spanish support in the US

One of the biggest consideration and sometimes limitation of voice assistants is that they are, by nature, intricately tied to the spoken language. While many people do speak English and many of its variants, not everyone does. And even some of those that do only consider English to be a second and sometimes unnatural language. That is why support for other languages have been slow to roll out and it will only be later this year that Amazon Alexa will be able to start speaking Spanish in the US.

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Amazon Alexa’s human auditors could access users’ locations

Amazon Alexa’s human auditors could access users’ locations

Is Amazon on the way to becoming the next Facebook? While there are those that inherently distrust the company because of its outright commercial interests, it has yet to cause a massive blunder on the scale of Facebook's ongoing saga. It might be close to it though, with more news about what the company is allowing Alexa "annotators and verifiers" to access about customers, including their geographical location that can then be turned into a home address.

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Xiaomi Amazfit Verge adds Alexa, iOS calling support

Xiaomi Amazfit Verge adds Alexa, iOS calling support

Unlike on smartphones where you basically only have two racehorses, the smartwatch market is teeming with choices. That's true even for the choice of smart assistants on your wrist. While Siri and Google Assistant do have the lion's share of the market, there are quite a number of wearables that lean towards Amazon's helper. Xiaomi-branded Amazfit Verge is one of those and it has just received an update that brings Alexa to your wrist and more.

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Amazon Music is now free with ads for Alexa device owners

Amazon Music is now free with ads for Alexa device owners

Amazon has announced that Amazon Music is now free to access without an Unlimited subscription or Prime membership via Alexa-enabled devices. Users will get free access to playlists and other content, but the service will be supported with advertisements. The news comes alongside YouTube Music's free ad-supported arrival on Google Home speakers.

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Sonos speakers now let Alexa control your Apple Music

Sonos speakers now let Alexa control your Apple Music

Apple has truly pulled down walls when it shook hands with Amazon to integrate its Apple Music service on Echo speakers. That despite the two having competing music streaming services. Now that bridge is extending even outside of Amazon's direct territory. The latter promised non-Amazon Alexa-powered devices will soon support Apple Music control as well and, nearly four months after its promise, it's finally happening on Sonos' speakers.

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Amazon Alexa recorded audio clips aren’t as secret as you think [Update]

Amazon Alexa recorded audio clips aren’t as secret as you think [Update]

It’s amazing what we can literally tell computers, phones, and even appliances to do these days. Once the stuff of science fiction only, voice commands are becoming more common in almost any new device or service. That progress didn’t happen magically overnight and companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple do say that your voice recordings may randomly be selected to be analyzed to improve the service. What they don’t say, however, is that there are humans involved in doing that analysis by listening to those presumed private recordings.

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Ecobee smart home security camera could come with Alexa

Ecobee smart home security camera could come with Alexa

Almost like rival Nest, ecobee has focused its portfolio on smart thermostats. In the past two years, however, it has expanded in two big ways. It has integrated Amazon's Alexa into its latest thermostat and, as of last year, started offering a smart switch as well. It seems that the company will soon be breaking ground again with a new smart home product, an indoor security camera that might, of course, have Alexa inside as well.

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