When Amazon upended the publishing industry with the advent of the Kindle, it also paved the way for an approach to luring consumers into a larger sphere of influence, a strategy that is now being successfully adapted for the new age of smart speakers and digital assistants. Both the Kindle and the Echo provide consumers with valuable services, encouraging them to shop and receive content within Amazon's ecosystem. Most of the experiences of its Kindle and Echo hardware also come in the form of apps or services that appear on other manufacturers' devices without additional charge to the consumer, making that connection even stronger. Read More
Cracks fingers. Alright, here we go again, another deal, another post. You can do it, Rita.
Look, I know most of you are just about done with Black Friday, but we do what we do because there are always a few persons who are interested in this deal, as opposed to that deal which others found more appealing. We're here for all. But it's tough to make these posts interesting, especially when the discount is relatively so tiny. Then I remember that Sonos nearly never discounts anything and when it does, it's just as abysmal as the deals today, so here goes... Read More
What do you get when you mix South Park's brand of seething humor, Cartman's childish behavior, and a slew of Google Homes and Amazon Echos? An episode full of big hairy balls and smelly tampon boogers being added to shopping lists, Simon says sentences about stinky poops, many more over the top juvenile jokes, all mixed with some social commentary on the loss of jobs due to automated assistants. Read More
If your Friday morning is groggy and you're impatient to get to the weekend, I have one fun little video for you to watch. Ellen DeGeneres recently took on personal assistants in her show with a brief sketch that mostly joshes on their names. These assistants are still quite dumb right now, but look at what happens when they grow personalities of their own, get possessive, and start fighting for your attention: Read More
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
JBL makes some killer portable speakers and I'm a big fan of its affordable, stylish, and stellar sounding product lineup. This morning, JBL announced that its latest generation of products is getting even a little better. As of today, JBL's current gen speakers will support Google Now voice integration.
The Flip 3, Charge 3, Xtreme, and Pulse 2 are all compatible with the new update (sorry Clip 2 owners, no support for you). To add the feature, all you need to do is download or update the JBL Connect app on your Android device. Once updated, simply long press the play/pause button on your speaker, wait for the ping, and then state your command. Read More
Search engines are been there, done that these days. To really compete, you need your own voice assistant that can do the searching for us, then regurgitate this information using a friendly voice. Business Insider reports that, in a conference call to report Yahoo's first quarter earnings on Tuesday, CEO Marissa Mayer mentioned her company's plans to take on personal assistants such as Google Now, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana. The site claims that the project is currently code-named Index.
On the call, Mayer said:
"Those products are really heavily differentiated both from each other as well as from the historic legacy products, and so that's really where we see an opportunity to play in something that's mobile.
For years Nuance's Dragon served as a leader in the world of voice dictation and commands. More recently, though, as Google and Apple move in on the speech control world, the company has a more pressing need than ever to distinguish itself. Enter Dragon Mobile Assistant. This app aims to "expands the natural language understanding and artificial intelligence" of Dragon Go! and "[add] the most popular personal assistant features."
At this point, most of our readers are probably aware of how voice assistants work. This one isn't much different from the usual fare. You can speak commands to set up appointments, make calls, send texts, and perform searches. Read More
I make no bones of the fact that I find 3rd party voice assistants to be increasingly redundant, especially with the arrival of Google Now on Jelly Bean.
But Google Now doesn't do certain things. One of those things has annoyed me since the early days of Google's Voice Actions: you can't make calendar events through voice input. And as a person that absolute despises digital calendars, this is something of a "must have" feature. Creating a calendar event in an app, to me, is like having a root canal - in that I wish I could be unconscious for the entire experience. Read More