Alexa Stories July 8, 2020

In lieu of Google I/O 2020 (Google opted not to hold a virtual event this year), the various arms of the company that would have otherwise had announcements at the event are trying to hold virtual conferences. That continued this week with the “Hey Google” Smart Home Virtual Summit. The big news was Google bringing Home/Away triggers to Assistant Routines with ‘presence detection’, but another minor tidbit surfaced: a new “Works with Hey Google” brand we hadn’t seen yet. Let’s overanalyze this, shall we?

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Alexa Stories June 3, 2018

Google Assistant and Alexa integration may soon be coming to Xbox One

According to a report from Windows Central, the Xbox One will be receiving an update to gain support for Google Assistant and Alexa, in addition to its existing Cortana support.

Alexa Stories April 19, 2018

Amazon’s new ‘Alexa Skill Blueprints’ feature allows anyone to create custom questions & responses

Amazon is adding new personalization options to Alexa, starting first with users in the United States. The new Alexa Skill Blueprints feature makes it easy for anyone to create a range of custom responses for Alexa, ranging from jokes to instructions and much more.

Alexa Stories March 12, 2018

Amazon’s Alexa devices offer free calling and voice messaging to other Echo owners – but from today, you’ll additionally be able to place these calls from your Fire, Android or iOS tablet …

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Alexa Stories October 26, 2017

One of the key decisions you need to make when adding smart lighting to a home is whether to have the smarts in the switches or the bulbs. Switches tend to be the easier option if you have non-techies in the home, while bulbs offer more flexibility.

A new smart switch system called Noon Home aims to offer the best of both worlds …

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Alexa Stories October 11, 2017

Amazon’s Alexa picks up a trick from Google Home, can now recognize multiple voices

When Google Home launched, Amazon’s Alexa platform had a massive headstart in several areas. About a year later, though, I think it’s safe to say Google has turned the tables. Now, Alexa is catching up with Home, and today it’s brought over one of Home’s best new features — multi-user support.

Alexa Stories July 24, 2017

Alexa is now rolling out to the HTC U11 in the UK

After finding its way to the HTC U11 in the United States last week, U11 users across the pond are reporting Alexa as now available for their devices.

Alexa Stories July 21, 2017

You will soon be able to use Alexa within the Amazon app on Android

Without any type of formal announcement, Amazon is rolling out an update to its mobile application on Android that enables Alexa, the company’s virtual assistant, to be used while shopping…

Alexa Stories July 17, 2017

While Google Assistant is loaded into almost every Android smartphone, Amazon’s Alexa platform is arguably just as good, if not better in some areas. That’s a big reason why a couple of Android OEMs have decided to partner with Amazon to bring Alexa to their smartphones, and today, HTC’s U11 is picking up Alexa.

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Alexa Stories July 13, 2017

One of Google Home’s best features is the ability to throw content from Netflix and YouTube to Google Cast devices, and Amazon is finally catching up in this department. After introducing Alexa control for the Fire TV last week, Sony has revealed that users will be able to use their Amazon Alexa devices to control the company’s Android TVs, something Google Home cannot yet do.

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Alexa Stories May 5, 2017

While the next Google Home is rumored to double as a mesh Wi-Fi router, Amazon’s upcoming Echo is reportedly adding a built-in display. In a leaked image, the new device is more monolithic, featuring a color display and possibly a camera.

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Alexa Stories November 18, 2016

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Even though Google Home has been released, it hasn’t taken much attention away from Amazon’s popular Echo devices. The Amazon Echo and Echo Dot both bring a lot to the table, in many ways more so than Google Home does at this point. Many of the Echo’s popular features are enabled by “Skills,” best described as third-party plugins. Now AT&T has released its own Alexa skill, enabling customers to send texts via an Echo.

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Alexa Stories September 7, 2016

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Amazon has announced today that its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick media streaming devices will be receiving an over-the-air update that will enable a universal search that can find content on 75 different applications and channels. This means less time searching for a show and more time watching it.

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Alexa Stories April 18, 2016

After the big splash made by smartphones and then, albeit with less of an impact, tablets, various forms of smartwatches have tried to sneak in into everyone’s digital life. As companies like Google and Apple try to extend their reach with increasingly bigger ecosystems that attempt to lock users in, the smartwatch race may prove to be an important area, despite the generally lukewarm reception consumers seem to have so far given.

Indeed, much like with chatbots, companies like Microsoft and Amazon may be interested in having a part of their services used right on your wrist, and while not directly coming from the Seattle company, it looks like Alexa may be your next wearable’s digital assistant. iMCO and Chronologics, the two companies behind the project, seem to be on track to deliver the “CoWatch” smartwatch, and have started an Indiegogo campaign that already raised over $10,000 in the first day of debut…

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Alexa Stories March 3, 2016

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Google might just be admitting a notable defeat in its battle with Amazon, with the latter company today saying that Nest thermostats will soon work with Alexa-powered devices. According to a report from Re/code, people familiar with the matter have said that Alphabet’s Nest unit explored the idea of building an Echo-like device at some point, but eventually came to the conclusion that customers wouldn’t be able to trust such a device that was built by the search engine behemoth…

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Alexa Stories November 6, 2014

Amazon today announced a new hardware product called Echo. It’s essentially a speaker unit dedicated to being a voice-control system. It kind of sounds like Google Now but in a speaker for a single room instead of in your Android smartphone, tablet, or watch.

You can set alarms, control music, ask about the weather, search the web, ask questions, and access local news. It streams content via Bluetooth and WiFi, and connects to the Fire Phone (if you have one), iOS via the browser, Android, and desktop computers via the web. Instead of “Okay Google,” you say “Alexa” to start speaking the device. You’ll need a Fire OS/Android device to take full advantage.

The whole concept is very futuristic, and it’s unclear how beneficial this will be to people with voice-controlled phones. But, hey, this comes from the developers of a faux-3D phone, so this is not completely out of left field. The Echo is $99 for Amazon Prime users, $199 for everyone else, and (for some reason) you need an invitation to receive the honor to buy one of these things.

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