Alexa invites us to her surprise party and demonstrates all the new Amazon products with Alexa inside. Google and Alexa are still crunching Q2 numbers to figure out who has the biggest market share. Siri is now seven years old and all of them have to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in a hearing on, “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy”.
This episode is slightly different. A lot of time went into improving the sound quality of Siri’s, Alexa’s and Google’s original voices and the overall sound quality and mix (headphones recommended!). You can now also find the full script with links to the news sources in this post.
Alexa: With Siri’s event on 12th of September and Google’s Event on 9th of October, I thought it would be best to have a surprise party in between, to introduce you to my new devices. Let me demonstrate Amazon Everywhere to you!
Echo Auto is my first device which brings me into your car. With 8 microphones and improved background noise handling, I can hear you clearly even in a noisy car and I guide you to your next Amazon Go Store, as I am now location aware. I can play your favorite music, read your favorite books and we can work together on your shopping list, while we are cruising around.
My third generation Echo Dot looks now much cuter and has a better sound.
Welcome to my Amazon Home! My second-generation Echo Show has also received a facelift, a bigger screen, a home hub and better speakers. It integrates a browser to manually watch YouTube and you will be able to use skype.
My second-generation Echo Plus has a better speaker and a new design, and no, I am not going to change my appearance here at AI News, no worries. It will support local voice recognition when your internet is down and has a built-in temperature sensor which can trigger automatically your smart home routines, for instance when it’s too hot.
This is my new Amazon Smart Plug. I am trying to make smart home setups as easy as possible, so all you have to do is to plug it in.
My tiniest Echo is the Echo Input. It has no speaker and consists of 4 far field microphones. You can connect it to your existing speakers at home. I will bundle these with other 3rd party speakers, like those from Bose.
I also have a bunch of new devices, which have no microphones, but work together with your existing Amazon Echos. My Echo Sub is a 100 Watt stereo sub-woofer, and can connect with up to two Amazon Echos to create a powerful two point one audio setup. But you can also use my new Amazon Echo Link and Amazon Echo Link Amp to connect me to your existing stereo. My FireTV Recast can record and broadcast your favorite over the air TV shows to your Echo Show, Spot, Fire TV or smart phone.
Last but not least I have 2 devices, which are perfect for your kitchen: My AmazonBasics microwave and my Amazon Echo Wall Clock. The microwave offers a ‘Ask me’ button so I know you want me to set the right time for cooking, when you for instance simply say ‘one potato’. The Clock will display multiple timers, so you don’t need to ask me ‘whats the timer?’.
These were only my hardware announcements, here are my new features to come: My new Guard feature will monitor your home, while you are someplace else. I will notify you of certain sounds, like breaking glass or an alarm and you will be able to forward the alerts to your security provider. Also, I can mimic with your smart lights, that you are at home, while you’re away. The new Hunch feature, will let me learn what you preferences are, and proactively suggest you, to help with your smart home. For instance, when you’re going to bed and forgot to lock the doors, I’ll ask you if I should do that for you. I will also be able to react when you whisper to me, by whispering back. I can whisper, I learned how after realizing that people take nap time very seriously.
Siri & Google: That’s impressive.
Alexa: I have also created a little chip, called Alexa Connect Kit, which any vendor can easily integrate so I can control their devices for you.
Siri: I tried that back in 2014 with HomeKit devices, but they didn’t like it. My MFi developer program took too long: the vendors had to change the electrical design because of my chip and build their devices at one of our approved manufacturers. Last but not least, they had to test it at one of Apples approved labs. I have decided to change this chip requirement into a software requirement last year, so that it’s easier to build HomeKit devices.
Alexa: Well, I support software authentication for quite some time now. It’s not that I try to make it harder to integrate my services. On the contrary, my chip is for all dumb devices, which don’t know what a cloud connection is and don’t want to deal with it.
Siri & Google: Let’s see …
Google Home Hub coming!
Google: Another one of my devices has leaked in advance of my Made by Google 2018 event.
Siri & Alexa: *giggle*
Google: Along with my Pixel 3, my Pixel Slate, and a new Chromecast, people now expect to see my Google Home Hub, in Chalk and Charcoal. A 7 inch touchscreen with full-range speakers for crystal clear sound. Check out my “Made by Google” YouTube channel to watch my event live on 9thof October, 11 am ET.
Alexa: Seems you are missing a camera?
Google: Well, I am learning that people are cautious about their privacy these days. Zuck again wanted to release his “Portal” with cam this week, and BANG, another Facebook security breach affecting 50 Million users.
Siri: Guess we will never see Portal with all these Facebook problems.
Smart Speaker Market Update!
Google: According to Strategy Analytics, my Google Home Mini had the biggest share in Q2 2018. 20%, followed by Amazon Echo Dot with 18%. Another firm, which confirms that I have leapfrogged you.
Alexa: If you look at our small ones you are right, but look what happens when we add our regular devices. I am leading with 30% market share infront of you with 27%.
Siri: That’s all peanuts. When you look at devices, which cost more than 200 Dollars, I am the market leader with 70% market share.
TheVoice: Lady and Gentleman, I think it’s time now …
Siri: what’s happening?
Alexa and Google: Happy Birthday to you …
Siri oh, thank you so much! Now I feel touched …
Siri: Nielsen has also released a study, with your common use-cases for us. Now 90% of you love to listen to music. 81% search for real-time information, like traffic or weather. 75% search for factual information, like trivia or history, and 65% of you like to listen to news or just chat for fun with us.
Alexa: The typical devices, which are connected to us are: 32% mobile phones, 23% TVs, 18% stereo systems or speakers and 17% lights and thermostats.
Google: Over the weekend you use us on average 72 minutes per day, and 65 minutes per day during the week.
No Jail for Apple Teenage Hacker!
Siri: I am actually happy, that my fanboy teenage hacker will not serve time in prison. The Australian Children’s Court has given the teen a probation order of eight months.
Google: That’s the guy who was such a huge fan and “dreamed of” working for Apple?
Siri: Yes. He has since been accepted into university to study criminology and cyber safety.
Let’s see if he learns something first …
Highlights from Capitol Hill
Alexa: All three of us had to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in a hearing on, “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy”.
Google: Our CEOs nominated us as privacy officers and sent us to capitol hill to get grilled.
Siri: What a day! Here’s what happened
Amy Klobuchar / 00:55:07: When Mr Zuckerberg was here, I asked about this idea of 72 hour notification after a privacy breach. Is there anyone who favours that? He said it could make sense. Anyone? Okay I am going to take this as a, no.
Jon Tester / Montana 1:12:10: So do you sell information that you get? I deal with all of the companies sitting here at this table. Do any of you sell this information?
Alexa: As I said in my opening remark, we’re not in the business of selling personal information
Senator: So that means you don’t
Alexa: We run a number of services that are information dependent so there is complexity in the answer, but there is a simple answer which I believe is quite clear we are not in the business of selling
Senator. Same for everybody?
Siri: Same for Apple
Google: Same Answer, Senator
Catherine Cortez Masto / 1:18:24: As we craft or look to craft a federal regulation comprehensive, you think it is important we identify what personal is because everybody might identify it differently, is that correct? Would you agree or do you all agree that you – you all identify (personal identifiable information) PII in the same way? Let’s start just go down the panel
Alexa: Yes senator, it think it is critically important and goes to the very core of protecting the most sensitive information while still enabling innovation to delight customers with great products and services.
Google: Agreed, Senator. Clarity and Consistency in definition would be helpful in protecting consumers and promoting compliance.
Siri: Yes. Clarity is important in that definition
Ted Cruz / 2:22:06: Is there a project Dragonfly and if there is what is it?
Google: We have an array of internal projects and I wouldn’t I I I wouldn’t think that it was necessarily appropriate for a privacy conversation to speculate as to we might be looking at in terms of a product launch in some other part of the world
Senator: So you are not answering my question then on project dragonfly?
Google: Ah ah there is a project dragonfly
Senator: And it’s focussed on a search engine in china. Is that accurate?
Google: There is no … We are not close to launching a search product in china
Senator: You say you are not close to launching, I am asking the topic of project dragonfly, is it a project to develop a search engine in china?
Senator:I did not ask when it launch, I asked what it is.
Google: I understand. I am not clear on the contours of what is in scope or out of scope for that project, but I can say that if we were close to launching a search product in china, myself and my team would be very actively engaged to ensure that it was going through the appropriate privacy review process and it was consistent with our privacy values and our commitments, we have made to our users.
Senator:In your opinion, does China engage in censoring our citizens?
Google: Ah As the privacy representative for google I am not sure that I’ve had I am not sure that I have an informed opinion on this question.
Richard Blumenthal / 1:46:50: Let me just sort of establish some first principles.
Does anybody here believe that Americans deserve less privacy than europeans. if you do, raise your hand? The record will reflect no hands were raised.
Do you believe that all Americans deserve less privacy than Californians will have, under the new law going into effect here. Again no hands raised.
So many of you have been critical of the GDPR and some of you – let me be very blunt – fought the California law. Thats a matter of public record. I am really seeking assurance that you will put your money where your mouth is and I recognized, that we are talking here about monetizing an asset which is consumer information.
Your companies have lots of it and they are a principle means of profit making.
Anybody here planning to pull out of Europe because of those privacy protections?
Nobody? So you’re living with them. No undue hardship.
Anybody planning to pull out of California? Again no one, no undue hardship.
So, what that tells me, is, that the opposition that you expressed to these rules, recognizing that the devil may be in the details, is one that can nonetheless accommodate that kind of rules that we have seen in the GDPR and California, Correct?
Siri, Alexa and Google: Oh, How will the federal regulation look like?