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More Than 8M People Own an Amazon Echo As Customer Awareness Increases 'Dramatically' (geekwire.com) 155

Amazon continues to see more and more traction with its voice-enabled speaker. An anonymous reader writes: A new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) estimates that there are now 8.2 million customers who own an Amazon Echo device, which first went on sale in late 2014 to Prime members and became generally available in June 2015. That's up 60 percent from the 5.1 million Echo users that CIRP cited in November 2016; the big increase likely resulted from a busy holiday season that saw Echo sales spike 9X from the year prior, according to Amazon. The 8.2 million number is also up nearly 3X from this time last year, CIRP said.
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More Than 8M People Own an Amazon Echo As Customer Awareness Increases 'Dramatically'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @03:03PM (#53737547)

    Alexa, Google Home, Siri, Google Assistant. All of them. There have already been articles out that say usage is dropping after the "new" factor wears off.

    They will go the way of 3D TV within five years.

    • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @03:19PM (#53737695)
      Actually, it is dropping because of the walled garden. If echo was tied into Wikipedia (and with skills, it is) it would be used a lot more. The problem is the way skills are presented, which is not at all. If you install Wiki Brains or Professor Kay, usage goes up dramatically!
      • If echo was tied into Wikipedia (and with skills, it is) it would be used a lot more.

        You can say "Alexa, Wikipedia (subject)" out of the box.

        • You couldn't when I got it... :) Another problem is people will not automatically look for new features. :)
      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        Walled gardens is a problem that have plagued home automation for decades.
        I considered it once and quickly dismissed the idea. There is no way you can just buy an AC unit, boiler and an alarm system and expect everything to work together. There are standards like KNX but there is no way the reasonably priced stuff you get from home depot is compatible.
        And BTW, KNX is not IoT. KNX is local and distributed. You can connect the whole thing to the internet if you want but you don't need to, not even once. You n

    • Alexa, Google Home, Siri, Google Assistant. All of them. There have already been articles out that say usage is dropping after the "new" factor wears off.

      They will go the way of 3D TV within five years.

      I bought a Logitech Harmony Elite and the package with or without the Echo Dot was the same price, so I got the one with the Echo Dot. It is nice being able to tell Alexa to "tell Harmony to turn on the TV", etc. However, I don't have anything else to integrate it to. I do like that I can tell it to stream radio stations from Tune-in. I was thinking that it would also make a decent Alarm clock but Amazon hasn't integrated streaming into it's alarm yet. So far, it's just an interesting toy.

      The biggest b

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Dude, I grew up in the 80's and 90's when installing an OS took 6 hours and 20 pages of typed commands. Using the SmartThings IDE and copying and pasting some other guys code to get various things integrated is heaven compared to that. It's basically all plug-n-play already. The little bit of tinkering you can do is FUN and not even a requirement so much as a thing for coders to do if they want. I guess what I'm saying is for first gen devices this stuff is already pretty damn plug-n-play.

      • The biggest barrier to the smart home is getting all of the devices to talk to each other. Until it's basically plug-n-play, it's just not going to happen. It looks like Amazon, and others, are trying to solve this. We'll see if they can succeed...

        Enjoy your

        Surveillance
        Marketed
        As
        Revolutionary
        Technology

        H
        o
        m
        e

        • Which it isn't. There's no network connection until the activation word is reckognized. THis has been cross checked and verified by many. You can even utilize the service via a raspberry pi using the API and OPEN SOURCE software if you distrust the out of box device.

          Keep stirring up that FUD though.

      • It is nice being able to tell Alexa to "tell Harmony to turn on the TV", etc.

        I have a couple friends who own Echos (Echoes?), and you've unintentionally hit on a complaint both have - finding/remembering the exact syntax required to get the Echo to do what you want is irritating.

        To be truly useful for everyone, you should be able to just say "Echo, turn on the TV" or "Echo, I want to watch TV".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      A Fad... just like smart phones.

      To be honest, I don't expect the home voice assistant in 10 years to resemble the current one much, but it is more than a fad. This isn't like the tablet which was basically an inconvenient hybrid of a smart phone and a laptop- the home assistant like Echo, and Google Home is a new market and is surprisingly useful. Totally unnecessary, but useful.

      Now, Voice assistants on your phone or PC... yeah... those are rather useless. Connecting your smart home, light bulbs, etc, to

      • Now, Voice assistants on your phone or PC... yeah... those are rather useless.

        Yeah, you bet. Being able to blindly thumb one button on my phone in the car and say "call Deb, put it on speaker" is absolutely useless.

        I'm totally with ya.

        ++++++++++insightful.

        Sorry. I'm a little compulsive when people say utterly silly things. :)

        • "Pile Deep, put inside."

          "I'm sorry, I don't understand that."

          Right behind 'ya ....

        • by Anonymous Coward

          How about you stop making phone calls while driving and concentrate on, you know, actually driving so you don't end up killing anyone?

          • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

            I bet you're tons of fun on car rides. I can only presume you demand absolute silence so you can dedicate 100% of your thinking on driving. The rest of us have learned how to drive while also holding a conversation with others (in the car or remote), listening to the radio, etc.

          • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

            I'm not "on my phone." I'm just talking to someone, same as if you were in the passenger seat. My hands are on the wheel where they belong, and my eyes are on the road.

            Or are you advocating for zero conversation with drivers? If so, I at least see your point, but I consider it unreasonable.

        • Being able to blindly thumb one button on my phone in the car and say "call Deb, put it on speaker" is absolutely useless.

          I wish that were possible. It was possible for me with a cell phone I bought around 2002 or 2003. The phone had 10 or 20 numbers you could "train" to call by recording your voice, creating a verbal speed-dial of sorts. I remember the looks I used to get from people when I put the phone to my ear and say "call Deb" or whatever... At that time, it was like something out of sci-fi.

          Alas, that feature became useless when I got my next phone a few years later. They did away with training and just tried to m

      • If you're just getting an echo dot for the "meow meow" skill, you'll get bored after driving your cats crazy a few times,

        I'm pretty much against these voluntary microphone bugging devices...BUT:

        While I'm not sure what a 'meow meow' skill is...if one of these things could keep the fucking neighborhood cats from sleeping on my black convertible roof in the carport...I might reconsider and get one!!

        I can't figure how to keep the fucking cat(s) from sleeping on my new car roof and getting hair and all over

        • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

          Yeah, don't go killing pets, not only for the cruelty factor, but for peace between you and your neighbors.

          I have seen video of motion detectors hooked up to sprinklers/hoses, especially to chase off cats. (One youtube video from a few years ago, the poor guy's car was being peed on constantly.) That might solve your problem easily and non-violently.

          • Yea, I recommend you watch this video if you need to watch something mildly humorous.

            (apparently, you peeing on your own car doesn't succeed in chasing the cats out!)

      • Connecting your smart home, light bulbs, etc, to Alexa, that's when it gets rather useful.

        But why would I want to _talk_ at something to control these devices versus just pushing a button on a remote control, or using a smartphone app?

        • Do you have full use of your limbs? Good, some people don't.

          Have you never cooked food such that your hands were covered in meat juice? Good, some of us do.

          Is your house wired where there is always a button immediately where you need one? Good for you, mine doesn't always have one.

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          Because sometimes your hands are full.

          Obvious jokes aside, I find it incredibly useful to be able to shout out to my Echo what's on my calendar for the day when I jump in the shower first thing on a morning. My wife loves that she can change radio station, or play different music in the kitchen when she's baking without getting flour all over her smartphone. Even when your carrying your shopping backs into the kitchen it's nice to be able to get some music playing whilst your hands are full.

          And fuck, when y

        • Connecting your smart home, light bulbs, etc, to Alexa, that's when it gets rather useful.

          But why would I want to _talk_ at something to control these devices versus just pushing a button on a remote control, or using a smartphone app?

          In the kitchen and hands covered in raw chicken.
          In bed, and it's dark instead of fumbling for the ceiling fan/light remote.
          If you're like me, when you get home you don't carry your phone around with you. You probably don't have a phone or a remote control within easy reach all the time.

          I'm not saying that it is a necessity- you can just walk to the light switch... but it is useful and a convenience to be able to bark out commands instead of having to physically flip a switch.

        • Because many times it's more convenient? When I'm cooking, I don't want to smear my phone with oils, it's easier to ask for information. I like having a SmartThings sensor on my motorcycle so the garage door opens as I approach my house, I don't have to fumble for a garage door opener or my phone. I like having my house realize when it's starting to get dark and automatically turn on lights - and turn them off when I am in bed and say "good night".
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        It'll be more useful when it can control the replicator.

        "Tea, Earl Grey, hot."

        I'll settle for the coffee pod machine.

      • I don't believe in controlling my house over the Internet. A microphone that goes to a computer thats uses BLE or a separate network or X10, sure. But why is the internet in the picture. (I know it's for the data.) But all the more reason to insist on local processing before you adopt it.

    • There are use cases.

      One client I have is a quadraplegic. Voice recognition on his laptop, and Alexa available to him when he is away from the laptop or merely wants a daily news snapshot, etc.

      Alexa is not perfect, of course. Last week I asked "her" how tall Jeremy Clarkson is and it came back with 6 feet, when he is in fact 6 feet 5 inches (on wiki anyway).

      Still, it is invaluable for a person in this situation.

      Privacy stuff? The average /. techie knows about it _and_ cares about. The rest of the compute

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        This is a good example of where voice assistants can be too clever. When I ask Google questions in English it responds with Imperial units (feet, inches, pounds). I use metic. If I ask in Japanese it gives the answer in metic.

        For voice there doesn't seem to be a way to select which you want. Sometimes it gets it right, for example because I told Google Maps to metic, for example. Sometimes it just repeats whatever Wikipedia says, which means British/American articles tend to give Imperial.

        • This is a good example of where voice assistants can be too clever. When I ask Google questions in English it responds with Imperial units (feet, inches, pounds). I use metic. If I ask in Japanese it gives the answer in metic.

          Contrary to popular belief, the Japanese CAN pronounce the letter "R"...

    • We use ours every day for the same thing we used it for when we bought it.

      Even bought more to expand where we use it.

    • I hope so. Eight million people installed a listening device in their home that is by design intended to record and transmit everything that occurs. NSA doesn't have to even work any more - people will do it for them and pay for the privilege.

    • by e3m4n ( 947977 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @07:26PM (#53739427)

      is it me being paranoid, or is the idea of a semi autonomous machine with a hot mic in the house, ready to broadcast everything you say, something right out of 1984 the novel?

      • You are paranoid. The 1984 thing was a camera in the house, ready to broadcast everything you do. There's one of those on your laptop and smartphone.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Alexa, Google Home, Siri, Google Assistant. All of them. There have already been articles out that say usage is dropping after the "new" factor wears off.

      They will go the way of 3D TV within five years.

      For the most part, the people I know who bought them tend to use them solely as music players. In that function I can see them being around for a while.

      The rest of the functions, they're extremely faddish. After the 2nd time of getting A korma instead of the vindaloo you asked for you're not going to use it to order food any more.

    • by dddux ( 3656447 )
      You're being too generous with 5 years. I'd say a couple of years at the most.
  • What's the point? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Honestly... I still don't see the allure of having a device like this in my home.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @03:14PM (#53737643)

      It's not really [slashdot.org] for you,, and It's more likely to be accepted by people than the government forcing everyone to get a telescreen [wikipedia.org].

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      I don't get it either. It's not even a matter of give-and-take with respect to privacy, it's "here, take all my privacy NOW! I don't need anything worthwhile in return! Just take it!"
      • by imidan ( 559239 )
        Without even considering privacy issues, I still don't want one. Maybe I'm more of a visual learner/interactor, but I don't really want Alexa to read me my email. I mean, I don't even like voicemail that much, I'd rather have an email or a text. I guess it would be kind of nice to be able to command a particular album to start playing, but I don't mind just using the remote control on the Apple TV. What Alexa needs for me to care about it is a killer app, and it's not there yet, for me. It's like smart
      • I don't get it either. It's not even a matter of give-and-take with respect to privacy, it's "here, take all my privacy NOW! I don't need anything worthwhile in return! Just take it!"

        Posted without any self awareness of what you are currently doing.

        Using a

        1. Registered account
        2. Using an ISP that logs what and where you go (and possibly more)
        3. Using a web browser that is pretty easily identified through multiple fingerprinting techniques
        4. Paid for through a credit card or bank account that is linked to your name and identity.

        You're already being tracked.

        I don't need anything worthwhile

        I guess you don't value your time or have more of it than you know what to do with.

        • by rsborg ( 111459 )

          You're already being tracked.

          I don't need anything worthwhile

          I guess you don't value your time or have more of it than you know what to do with.

          I guess you'd prefer to simply *trust* Amazon to tell you a) they're not monitoring you all the time surreptitiously, or b) (more likely) they have a backdoor that the Feds or Police can use at-will whenever they want.

          You know, if I have to trust Amazon (or Google or Apple) all the time to not be compelled to give up my privacy for any random investigation, just for a bit of convenience, I think I'll pass also.

          Meanwhile enjoy your extra chocolate ration, citizen! The Ministry of Plenty thanks you!

          • No, I assume Amazon is feeding them everything I say.

            I assume I have an NSA agent sitting on my couch just like I've assumed that since long before Snowden told us they were.

            I always assume that unless I take measures to know they're not. It's trivial to do that.

        • You're already being tracked.

          It is an abuse of privacy.

          When someone tells you that they are being abused, do you reply that they should just take it because they are also being abused in other aspects of their lives?

          All violations should be stopped. The significance of abuse is not reduce by packing on further violations.

    • I'm building motorized blinds in very high wall in my living room using Moteino wireless devices and will emulate Wemo devices. It will allow me to lower/rise them with voice commands through Alexa. Otherwise, I'd need to use my phone or tablet, etc.
    • My company gave *everyone* a Dot for christmas.
      I gave it to my ex wife as a "from the kids" present.
      Saved me from spending actual $$ on my ex, so I still appreciate it, but not having it in my house.

    • Tablets were desk free internet. This device free internet. Without a device in your hands you can change the music playing, read e-mail, and lookup data on the web (with the right skills installed) while you are doing other things. Just the music alone is damned handy!
    • The software company I work for redeemed their Amazon credit card rewards for Echos this last year, giving each of us a Dot. Here's how it's gone for us so far...

      My wife's uses for the Echo Dot:
      - Bluetooth speaker for phone
      - Pandora radio
      - Weather
      - Kitchen timers

      My uses for the Echo Dot:
      - Entertain my wife

      Right now, they're little more than novelties for most people, honestly, but as smart homes become more common, I suspect Alexa et al. may find a niche. I don't understand the people who think voice will r

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @03:29PM (#53737783)
    Just weird that people would pay to have these in their home. I'd think Amazon would have had to pay people on the order of a hundred bucks or so a month to get some creepy microphone next to their couches.
    • We got an echo (full size, not a dot) as a christmas present. Fun to play with for a few hours.

      After the first day all we use it for is as a timer or as a blue tooth speaker to stream music from our phones. We used to just use our phones for the timer and a blue tooth speaker for the speaker. The echo does not add any benefit that wasn't already there. Certainly not $180.00 worth of benefit.

      It is definitely not worth the price. Not even close. I recently replaced a furnace and considered an internet enab

      • The echo dot was all of $40 during the holidays. That's cheaper than a single z-wave switch. I've re-wired our most used switches with z-wave switches. (Of varying brands, just to avoid being considered a shill).

        People who spent thousands of dollars on gadgets that give them the benefits of existing technology that costs much less, and are just trying to convince themselves.

        And yet you own a furnace that is run off of electricity or natural gas. What benefit does that really give you over a wood fired furnace? Something that already existed and is cheaper to run if you split your own trees. I think you're just trying to convince yourself it's cheaper by shilling for th

        • When I bought the house there was still coal in the coal bin in the basement. Wood fired pellet stoves with hoppers will run quite a while between re-fills, but you still have to buy the pellets and re-fill them. The natural gas furnace does not require hauling wood or shoveling coal.

          BTW, we traded the coal in the basement for a used mahogany ballroom floor and 4 casement windows. The windows replaced our original basement windows. The flooring became a staircase to our second floor. There were no origin

        • by tzanger ( 1575 )

          I've re-wired our most used switches with z-wave switches. (Of varying brands, just to avoid being considered a shill).

          I'm looking at these as well. Do you have any recommendations for or against any particular brand or "type" of switch? I'm very interested in ones which are compatible with existing three-way switches and which are *not* toggle switches themselves. I also seem to be favouring in-wall as opposed to smart switches, as all the smart switches seem to be that large, flat Decora style.

          • The GEs seem to work best. I don't know of any that are compatible with existing 3-way switches, all of the ones I have need a special 3-way switch which uses the traveler to send a signal. Our house already had the Decora style switches so everything was drop in.

      • So you don't use the device to its full potential, and you really enjoy bragging about how "frugal" you are. That's really special.

        My echo dot can be told "connect to your speakers" and stream music to my 7.1 system taht actually SOUNDS good, rather than the marginal speaker even the full sized echo has. I have my lights and other devices linked via a smartthings hub, and my AV system via a harmony hub. All voice controlled, all timer controllable if I so wish. I have a sensor hooked to my front door to let

        • Don't ignore the difference between $180 someone paid for my echo and the $40 you paid for your dot. The capabilities are very similar, but the cost to capability ratio is very different. As you state, you use your dot to pass the task on to more capable devices.

          Your speakers sound as if they are nice. I miss listening to things in stereo. I'm single side deaf, as a result of Meniere's Disease. Besides, playing in 7.1 stereo is not a capability of your echo dot. The streaming is, but I bet you already had

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Yep. I think they are buying them as toys to me. For me, I care not for these "toys".

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Awareness spiked when someone used the Alexa API to connect their Echo to a talking "Billy Big Mouth" singing bass toy in November. [bgr.com]

    If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was all an Amazon stealth viral marketing campaign
  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <brian.bixbyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @03:37PM (#53737843)

    Most of the people that I know (including myself) who use the Echo a lot have it connected to their music profile on Amazon, Spotify, IheartRadio, or Pandora. The Dot has an audio output that will work with most people's stereo system, or Bluetooth to newer audio equipment like Sonos sound systems. I've found checking bus schedules, weather forecasts and traffic to be much more convenient that getting out a laptop/tablet/phone. Alarms and timers are more convenient than messing with clocks, and you can have multiple levels of them from multiple devices. My niece has tied hers to Wikipedia, so her kids use it for homework. We haven't gotten to playing around controlling other devices yet, but our friends say they can't even find their WeMo controller as they haven't had to touch it since configuring them on the Echo.

    Sure, some people will try it and say, "Meh". I expect to see a few of them on Craigs List in another month or two. By and large though, once you start using it you tend to use it a lot. Besides, Alexa is the only one in my house that actually does what I tell her to.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sonos doesn't have Bluetooth and the Echo/Dot don't do wifi streaming. The Sonos integration is limited to telling Sonos to turn on and off unless you buy a Sonos Connect Hub for $300+ and use that hooked up to the Echo/Dot. Sonos needs to up their game. They haven't improved their hardware in a decade. And the Echo/Dot need a digital out so you can hook it up to a DAC that cost more than $2. The Dot does stereo out but it's a muddy sound that's probably fine on $200 speakers but just terrible on $2000 spe

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @03:39PM (#53737865)

    Don't these people realize that they are opening up their private lives to companies in wholly new ways?

    Before you say "The FBI can already listen in on your phone anyway", please understand that this is very different:

    - This device has way better microphones, and can listen well across the room.
    - With FBI surveillance, if your phone starts listening in it's a rare occasion that you had no choice in. With Alexa it's assumed and accepted that a microphone is always on, and you conciously accept it.

    - You are conciouslymaking your visitors susceptible to surveillance.
    - It might not store your voice, but they probably store a hashed voice print. This makes you easily recognisable by other Alexa's. It's like Google technically not reading your mail, but finding out lots about you anyway.
    - Visitors of your home will now also get a voice hash.
    - You are implicitly saying you are ok with a culture where companies have these devices in the home. While that may be ok with you, this culture in the end will create social pressure for others to accept this too.
    - It doesn't record everything now to make it more socially acceptible. But it might become a 'feature' later. A beach head like this is asking for feature creep.

    - Check out Hellen Nissenbaum's concept of privacy as 'Contextual Integrity' to better understand how this is, in fact, a sufficiently new situation.
    - Check outthe book "Black Box Society" to better understand how privacy is about the right to avoid social pressure. Or watch this short interview:
    https://www.youtube.com/embed/... [youtube.com]

    We all understand the old punitive system where a crime leads to a punishment. It's the one lots of people claim they have nothing to hide from..
    We are now building a much more subtle system next to that in the form of the reputation economy, where deviant behavior is corrected through social pressure.

    • We are now building a much more subtle system next to that in the form of the reputation economy, where deviant behavior is corrected through social pressure.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosedive

    • No, Anonymous Friend, most don't know, and the rest don't care because they think their lives are so uninteresting that no one else should care either. Of course they're wrong. Knowledge is power, and if you gather enough information about a person, especially information that should be private, you can have a degree of control over them that would astound them. Worse, you can control people without them even realizing they're being controlled. But, you know, bread and circuses, and all that.
    • Are you this paranoid about your smartphone, too? You say it's different, but an iPhone has pretty good mics ("Hey, Siri" can also hear me from across the room) and I'm sure there are comparable Androids. Sure, it won't listen unless you meet the conditions and enable the feature, but neither will Alexa--as far as we know about both if we trust the manufacturer as yo do for the phone. You can always unplug (or turn off with a "smart plug" so you don't have to physically do it, assuming you trust those) the

    • As I said in the last Echo thread, Unless you take measures to make sure you're not being intercepted and listen to just assume you are, not that I agree with that but it's just fact at this point.

      Do you think the US revolutionaries kept themselves out of sight during planning? Or do you think they went about their daily lives until they knew they could talk freely? Which one do you think would raise more suspicion?

      I assume the average Slashdot reader is intelligent enough to setup secure end to end encrypt

    • by watice ( 1347709 )
      I have this strange feeling that the conspiracy theorists who seem to have some crazy idea that audio streams are constantly (or most of the time, AT ALL) sent to X company/agency have never written software with speech inputs.
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @03:49PM (#53737939)
    Is there some payola going on? Google was actually first to implement a voice assistant. Nearly a year before Siri, I was using it on my Android phone to send texts, initiate map navigation, make appointments and to-do lists, make general web queries, as well as make phone calls like most phones have been able to do since the early 2000s. It's just that most people never knew about it because Google never thought to give it a catchy anthropomorphized name like Siri or Alexa.

    Approximately 81% of the Android devices out there can use OK Google (Android 4.4 or newer). With 1.4 billion Android devices, that's 1.1 billion devices with access to Android's voice assistant. iOS has about a half billion users, the vast majority of whom can use Siri. Yet the press is saturated with stories about a mere 8.2 million people with an Amazon Echo?
    • Is there some payola going on? Google was actually first to implement a voice assistant. Nearly a year before Siri, I was using it on my Android phone to send texts, initiate map navigation, make appointments and to-do lists, make general web queries, as well as make phone calls like most phones have been able to do since the early 2000s. It's just that most people never knew about it because Google never thought to give it a catchy anthropomorphized name like Siri or Alexa. Approximately 81% of the Android devices out there can use OK Google (Android 4.4 or newer). With 1.4 billion Android devices, that's 1.1 billion devices with access to Android's voice assistant. iOS has about a half billion users, the vast majority of whom can use Siri. Yet the press is saturated with stories about a mere 8.2 million people with an Amazon Echo?

      Perhaps the infatuation around the Echo device is derived from one key differentiation that separates it from the rest of the assistant bunch.

      Other assistants are enabled with a button, or some other user input to activate the microphone.

      As a societal litmus test to validate just how much users don't give a shit about privacy, Amazon chose to remove that burden, and instead just leaves their device listening all the fucking time, secured by a EULA and a pinky swear that they won't allow anyone to abuse that

    • by MoogMan ( 442253 )

      People don't buy a phone to get Google Now or Siri, it's a convenient extra. People buy the Echo almost certainly for the voice control as that is it's main selling point. Numbers aside, 3x growth at that scale appears to indicate ongoing and growing demand.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I think the innovative thing about Siri is that it was quite a bit smarter about understanding humans' context-dependent grammar than what came before. This make it a lot more natural to use.

    • Google was actually first to implement a voice assistant. Nearly a year before Siri,

      Everything old is new again. I was using one on my PC before the first iPhone.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Awareness of Customer Increases Dramatically

    (Also: Did any of these 8M people actually read 1984?)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Only in the US could Amazon be lighting it up with privacy-destroying devices like Echo while "1984" tops their book sales.

  • Still waiting for it to be officially available here.
  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @04:37PM (#53738287)

    Amazon confirms Americans are incredibly lazy and don't give a shit about privacy.

    Is this really a shock to anyone?

    This may be enshrined as one of the greatest events in the entire fucking history of irony, as sales of Orwell's 1984 and the Echo top Amazon sales charts.

    • It's a shock that most people people on Slashdot are incredibly lazy and don't give a shit about privacy. A times, I really do think the user-base of this site is as bad, or maybe even less intelligent that the general popualtion.

  • The existence of a device does not mean the usage of a device.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Yet you paid cash up front. They really don't care.
      • Yet you paid cash up front. They really don't care.

        Well they do care, because continued use means continued opportunities for continuing revenue, which is better than a one off sale.
        I'm sure someone out likes likes this shit, but as a techy with techy friends I don't know anyone with one, or planning to get one. Voice assistance just seems so stupid because the error rate is too high to make it useful, and privacy issues are too risky.
        My anecdotal observations that I've never ever seen anyone ever use Siri/Google Voice etc in the wild (I spend a lot of

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, I wish to install a microphone in my house so that Jeff Bezos can listen to everything I say.
  • I have a friend who has one, so when I go over to their house, what's the stupidest thing I can make it do? I'd love to think I could make it order £100 item on Amazon, but I believe they can pin-code protect that capability. So... what's the stupidest, most annoying thing I can get Alexa to do when I walk in?

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"

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