MakeUseOf: How to Set Up and Use Alexa Routines Triggered by Sounds

MakeUseOf: How to Set Up and Use Alexa Routines Triggered by Sounds. “Alexa is always listening for the wake word (which, by default, is ‘Alexa’). However, Amazon’s digital voice assistant can pick up much more than just your voice commands. Thanks to a feature called Sound Detection, currently available as a public preview, your Amazon Echo can listen out for several other sounds, too, then launch a series of commands in response.”

MakeUseOf: How to Turn Alexa Into Santa Claus This Christmas

MakeUseOf: How to Turn Alexa Into Santa Claus This Christmas. “‘Tis the season when people eagerly await the arrival of the most famous person of all. No, not Adele or Beyonce. Santa Claus! And in order to bring holiday cheer into our homes this Christmas, Amazon has added Santa Claus as its Alexa’s latest voice skill. Here’s how to set up Alexa’s new Santa Claus voice, what devices it will work on, and what you can ask Santa once it has been enabled.”

Stanford University: Are Voice Assistants a Reliable Source of Health Information?

Stanford University: Are Voice Assistants a Reliable Source of Health Information?. “In recent work published by Annals of Family Medicine, [Grace] Hong and her colleagues found that, in response to questions about cancer screening, some voice assistants were unable to provide any verbal answer while others offered unreliable sources or inaccurate information about screening.”

CNET: Amazon reportedly building live audio business

CNET: Amazon reportedly building live audio business. “Amazon is reportedly building a live audio service for use with Alexa. The online retail giant is investing heavily in an effort led by its music division that would include paying podcast networks, musicians and celebrities to use the feature for live conversations, shows and events, according to a Tuesday report from Axios.”

TechCrunch: Amazon aims to inject new life into Alexa with release of developer tools and features

TechCrunch: Amazon aims to inject new life into Alexa with release of developer tools and features. “Amazon is giving its Alexa voice platform a shot in the arm after seeing further declines in skill growth over the past year, indicating lagging interest from third-party voice app developers. At the company’s Alexa Live developer event today, the company announced a slew of new features and tools for the developer community — its largest release of new tools to date, in fact. Among the new releases are those to encourage Alexa device owners to discover and engage with Alexa skills, new tools for making money from skills and other updates that will push customers to again make Alexa more a part of their daily routines.”

Make Tech Easier: New Alexa Skill, Reading Sidekick, Helps Kids Learn to Read

Make Tech Easier: New Alexa Skill, Reading Sidekick, Helps Kids Learn to Read. “If there’s one thing parents wish they had more of, it would be time – time for themselves, time for their children, etc. They can get a little more of that time back with Reading Sidekick, an Alexa skill that reads with children. Parents can entrust Alexa with the task or sit with their children as they learn.”

Reuters: Market power of Siri, Alexa, Google a concern, EU regulators say

Reuters: Market power of Siri, Alexa, Google a concern, EU regulators say. “The market dominance of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Alphabet’s Google Assistant has triggered concerns of potential anti-competitive practices, EU antitrust regulators said on Wednesday. The comments from the European Commission come after a year-long inquiry into voice assistants and other internet-connected devices and responses from more than 200 companies.”

CNN: Alexa, what other devices are listening to me?

CNN: Alexa, what other devices are listening to me?. “Devices with various types of voice technology are also becoming more common. With a simple hands-free utterance, an Amazon- or Google-run personal assistant can stream your favorite Gap Band playlist or find a solid recipe for macaroons. But it also raises concerns about privacy – not just hacking but also how companies protect your data.”