The failure of Amazon's Alexa shows Microsoft was right to kill Cortana

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Apr 24, 2016
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2023 is looking to be a rough year in tech, with layoffs already hitting various major companies as forecasts predict recession almost across the entire world. A combination of inflationary effects of money printing through the pandemic, Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, and even China's COVID-Zero lockdown policies — are all contributing to a perfect economic storm hitting practically everyone. From gas prices to food costs, we're all tightening our belts, and for the world's biggest companies, that means accepting some harsh realities about some of their more experimental departments.

Some of the biggest tech stories of this year revolved around Facebook's staggering fall from grace, with billions upon billions wiped off its market value owing to a smorgasbord of strategic and macroeconomic headwinds. The focus on its experimental metaverse saw the company rebrand to Meta and imagine a future where users sought to wear bulky VR computers on their faces to do basic tasks rather than the palm-sized pocket computers they already owned. Amazon, quite similarly, has come to terms with its own human-computer interfacing failure this year, although you probably wouldn't have realized it from how popular they are.

Surprisingly, the biggest money black hole in Amazon's portfolio appears to be its Amazon Echo speaker line. Which came as a shock to me initially, considering I own several of them. I've used an Amazon Echo to control my Xbox. I've used my Amazon Echo to interact with my Windows PC. Lots of PCs come with Alexa pre-installed these days too. Everyone I know also owns at least one of the convenient-yet-concerning privacy-busting mini-mics for everything from listening to music to turning on the lights. Yet, the division has been named as one of Amazon's biggest failures in recent times, which reminded me that, once upon a time, Microsoft also sought a piece of that surprisingly unlucrative pie.

It seems that Microsoft saw the pitfall earlier than most and got out of the game before it became a colossal eyesore within the quarterly earnings spreadsheet. But is there hope for voice-assisted systems in a world where machine learning is becoming increasingly accessible?
 

Stopspying

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The author seems to be living in a bubble - "Everyone I know also owns at least one of the convenient-yet-concerning privacy-busting mini-mics for everything from listening to music to turning on the lights."
 

TedCruz

Level 5
Aug 19, 2022
176
Alexa has became a glorified alarm clock in my house. Except for lights and window shades which are controlled by Lutron via Alexa.

The biggest gripe which Alexa is that he wanted people to order by voice. I am sorry but with Amazon search now being 90% random Chinese brands that no one heard off, selling the same knock off items that are just relabeled; there is no way I will order by voice. Even if I want to reorder something I ordered before, there is a chance that I will get a knock off brand instead.

Besides I want to read the reviews and run the item through a fakespotter. Amazon should fix their search engine and blatant abuse of their merchandise system before doing anything else. Since nowadays Amazon is just a more expensive wish.com.

Also reviews should get a rework;

5 star: My husband likes it. (Wtf how is that useful?!)

1 star: package arrived damaged (ok that's a shipping issue and not an item issue)
 

plat

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Sep 13, 2018
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One of the first things I ever did upon reinstalling Windows was to x-nay Cortana. I mean, when word got out that things like this were actually data harvesters disguised as your helpful bot, I couldn't get rid of it fast enough. Only one app on here can block it should it ever decide to rear its head (which isn't very likely).



:D:coffee:

Edit: for some reason, you can only watch this on YouTube so click the link there if you want.
 

Zero Knowledge

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I mean, when word got out that things like this were actually data harvesters

Was it ever in doubt though this was the case?

Sure, they can argue that 'we need to record everything, and we mean EVERYTHING for data training to improve our products' but it was really a lie. In reality it was just another avenue to collect and monetarize the data they collect to the detriment of the user. Same thing with companies collecting telemetry data, it's just another excuse to hoard and collect data for future use. When was the last time a company actually proved the telemetry data that they collect has been used to improve any product anywhere anytime ever?
 

entropism

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Jul 30, 2019
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Also reviews should get a rework;

5 star: My husband likes it. (Wtf how is that useful?!)

1 star: package arrived damaged (ok that's a shipping issue and not an item issue)
Don't forget the best ones...

(on a case for an iPhone 14 Pro) "This doesn't fit the 14 Pro Plus! False advertising!"

Or my very favorite...


globe.png
 

TedCruz

Level 5
Aug 19, 2022
176
Don't forget the best ones...

(on a case for an iPhone 14 Pro) "This doesn't fit the 14 Pro Plus! False advertising!"

Or my very favorite...


View attachment 271103
Oh my sweet summer child. I have been on Amazon since it started buying books for college.
 

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Sorrento

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Dec 7, 2021
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I have Alexa on a few devices such as SONOS speakers & Firestick but they are off (hopefully) - I do use Siri for some basic questions as (she) on my phone isn't to bright.- As for reviews I often see 'bigger/smaller' than expected & the dimensions are cleanlily shown, & to expensive after the person bought it (don't buy it then) Duh - Cortana was removed nano seconds after an install, aways.
 
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