Google's speech recognition error rate is getting lower and lower - yesterday, the company said it's now under 5% and has dropped from 8.5% this time last year. And I find that to be more and more the case in my own use: Google seems to recognize almost everything I throw at it now, even when I add Lebanese/Arabic names from my contacts list that I wouldn't expect it to get right.
But if you're wondering how Google's speech recognition fares in comparison to other voice assistants, Wired has made a video in conjunction with Andy Wood and Matt Kirshen (from Probably Science) to show you just that. Read More
One of my main problems with 'smart' assistants is that they aren't great at delivering information. Yes, you can ask "will there be storms," but having your Echo or Google Home proactively inform you about dangerous weather would be far more useful.
Amazon today announced that it is working on notification support for Alexa, which will allow skills to send notifications to the user (if allowed). Read More
Amazon's Alexa assistant is currently only talking to you, but you will soon be able to have Alexa reach out and touch someone else. Amazon is adding voice calling and messaging to its Alexa devices, which will most likely be available in time for the launch of the Echo Show on June 28th. This won't be connected to your phone number—it's a completely separate way of making and accepting voice calls. Read More
We first caught a glimpse at an upcoming touchscreen Echo speaker a few days ago, when the first image was leaked. Now the speaker is officially real, and you can pre-order it now for $229.99 (or $359.98 for two). Read More
Although the Alexa voice assistant is a popular choice for smart speakers like Amazon's own Echo line, we've seen plenty of devices with screens running it too. For example, the Huawei Mate 9 was updated to include Alexa not too long ago. According to AFTVnews and Evan Blass (aka @evleaks), Amazon is working on a touchscreen Echo device. Read More
There have been a few Alexa-enabled devices from third-parties, but only Amazon's own hardware uses its fancy far-field microphones and speech processing technology. That's going to change soon, though. Amazon has announced the availability of the Amazon Alexa 7-Mic Far-Field Development Kit, which will let third-parties develop better Alexa devices. Read More
I've been eying the iRobot Roombas for over a year now. The idea of a robot vacuum gliding around my apartment and cleaning up while I'm not around sounds all too appealing and nerdy. And because I'm into connected gadgets, I sure want one of the newer Series 900 robots, which would set me back somewhere between 7 and 9 Franklins. Ouch. If you're lucky enough to have that kind of dough to spend on a Roomba, your robot is about to get cooler in the geekiest kind of way: maps and stats. Oh and Alexa.
iRobot is announcing new Clean Map reports for your Roomba 900 series that will show you a map of your house and the spots that were cleaned, along with graphs for the total cleaning time and coverage over the last 30 jobs plus some lifetime stats. Read More
Amazon's Alexa assistant supports multiple 'wake words,' which serve as activation phrases for Alexa to start listening. Until now, this included "Alexa," "Amazon," and "Echo." Now Amazon has silently added "Computer" as a wake word, something that is sure to please Star Trek fans everywhere. Read More
Amazon first introduced its Alexa voice assistant alongside the Echo speaker around two years ago. Though the Echo line of products has proved to be exceedingly popular, the audio that even the flagship model produces still leaves something to be desired. If you like the idea of Alexa but have been holding off on buying an Echo because of the lackluster sound quality, Amazon has something in the works that may appeal to you - a touchscreen-equipped Alexa device with premium sound. Read More
Although the Google Home has recently been released, Amazon's Echo/Dot/Tap devices are still excellent. With far more abilities than Google Assistant has at the moment, Alexa is still the king (or queen?) assistant platform for controlling smart home devices and communicating with online services. Now you can grab Amazon's various Alexa-powered devices for lower prices. Read More