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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday November 11 2017, @03:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the speak-up dept.

Voice-enabled smart speakers to reach 55% of U.S. households by 2022, says report

Adoption of voice-powered smart speakers is taking off. According to a new report from Juniper Research out this morning, smart devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Sonos One will be installed in a majority – that is, 55 percent – of U.S. households by the year 2022. By that time, over 70 million households will have at least one of these smart speakers in their home, and the total number of installed devices will top 175 million.

The new forecast follows other reports pointing to growth in the voice-enabled speaker market, including one from eMarketer this spring which said that 35.6 million U.S. consumers would use a voice-activated device at least once per month in 2017, representing 128.9 percent growth over last year.

Despite the increased adoption of smart speakers with voice control capabilities, the new report points out that the majority of voice assistant usage won't be through these in-home devices. Instead, the most usage will occur on smartphones, with over 5 billion assistants installed on smartphones worldwide by 2022.

Amazon teaches Alexa Japanese for Echo's next destination

Amazon's Echo, Plus and Dot speakers will finally be available in Japan starting next week. To prepare for the devices' arrival in the island nation, the e-retail giant taught the voice assistant how to understand and respond in the Japanese language. Alexa SVP Tom Taylor said the company designed an all-new experience "from the ground up for Japanese customers, including a new Japanese voice, local knowledge and over 250 skills from Japanese developers."

Related: Amazon Dominates Voice-Controlled Speaker Market
Amazon is Working on Smart Glasses to House Alexa AI, Says FT
Google Pulls YouTube off of the Amazon Echo Show
Amazon's Alexa Adds Ability to Order from Best Buy


Original Submission

Related Stories

Amazon Dominates Voice-Controlled Speaker Market 12 comments

Amazon is dominating the voice-controlled speaker market, according to a new forecast from eMarketer out this morning. The maker of the Echo-branded speakers will have 70.6 percent of all voice-enabled speaker users in the U.S. this year – well ahead of Google Home's 23.8 percent and other, smaller players like Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon, and Mattel, who combined only account for 5.6 percent of users.

The new report backs up another from VoiceLabs released in January, which also found that Amazon was leading the voice-first device market, thanks to Echo's popularity.

While the market itself is not expected to be a winner-take-all scenario, competitors like Amazon and Google will win entire homes, as most consumers have said they wouldn't consider buying a competing device once they already own one voice-controlled speaker.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/08/amazon-to-control-70-percent-of-the-voice-controlled-speaker-market-this-year/

Gee whiz!


Original Submission

Amazon is Working on Smart Glasses to House Alexa AI, Says FT 18 comments

Submitted via IRC for Fnord666_

Amazon is working on building a pair of smart glasses to house its Alexa voice assistant, and a home security camera that could be linked to its existing Echo connected devices to further expand their capabilities, according to a report in the FT citing people familiar with the company's plans.

The newspaper says one or both of these products could be launched before the end of the year, alongside updates to existing Echo devices.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment, saying company policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation.

According to the FT, the smart glasses are intended to be purely an earbuds-free housing for Amazon's Alexa AI — with a bone-conduction audio system that would enable the wearer to hear Alexa without the need to be wired in.

With no mobile platform of its own to build on, Amazon has a strategic disadvantage vs Google and Apple because it cannot bake its voice AI into smartphone hardware where millions of engaged users could easily summon it — hence the company working on a plethora of alternative connected devices to try to put Alexa within earshot anyway.

The idea for the glasses, which would be its first wearable, would be to do just that: Enable Alexa to be summoned from anywhere, vs the current situation where users are barking commands at static in-home speakers.

The FT reports the glasses would wirelessly tether to a user's smartphone for connectivity. They are also apparently being designed to look like a regular pair of spectacles, so they could be worn comfortably and unobtrusively.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/20/amazon-is-working-on-smart-glasses-to-house-alexa-ai-says-ft/

Also at Reuters and USA Today.


Original Submission

Google Pulls YouTube off of the Amazon Echo Show 15 comments

The Amazon Echo Show is an Alexa-powered voice assistant product that includes a touchscreen and a camera. Google has pulled support for YouTube on the device:

Google's popular video-sharing site appears to have disappeared from Amazon's device due to a dispute over how YouTube should work on the Echo Show. According to Amazon, Google pulled support for YouTube on the Echo Show on Tuesday afternoon:

Google made a change today at around 3 pm. YouTube used to be available to our shared customers on Echo Show. As of this afternoon, Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers. There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers.

But Google accused Amazon of breaking its rules on the way YouTube is presented, adding that talks between the two companies haven't yielded a solution.

We've been in negotiations with Amazon for a long time, working towards an agreement that provides great experiences for customers on both platforms. Amazon's implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience. We hope to be able to reach an agreement and resolve these issues soon.

The move is likely related to YouTube functionality desktop users are used [to] that is lacking from the Echo Show, including being able to share, recommend and comment on videos.

Also at The Verge.


Original Submission

Amazon's Alexa Adds Ability to Order from Best Buy 5 comments

Electronics retailer Best Buy, considered an Amazon competitor, will sell a limited selection of products through Amazon's Alexa:

In an odd turn for retail cooperation, Best Buy is now available on Alexa, Amazon's voice-powered digital assistant. Starting today, you can learn about and order Best Buy's Deal of the Day sales just by saying, "Alexa, talk to Best Buy." Sure, it seems odd to have a competing service on Amazon's own devices, but as the blog post from Best Buy points out, the big box store has been selling Amazon Alexa devices in a special section in about 700 of its stores earlier this year.

Best Buy is only the latest retailer to jump on the voice-shopping trend, too. Walmart and Target both offer home shopping via Google Assistant.

Also at CNET and eSellerCafe.


Original Submission

Analyst Suggests That Google Should Give Every U.S. Home a Free Smart Speaker 42 comments

'OK Google, give everybody in America a free speaker'

Alphabet Inc. should give every household in America a free Google Home Mini smart speaker, a Morgan Stanley analyst suggested Thursday.

The speakers currently retail for $49 each, which would mean spending about $3.3 billion. Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak wrote Thursday that would be a "small price to pay" for Google-parent Alphabet. He estimated that the company could compensate for that cost about five times over through the operating profits it generates more generally from retail search over the next five years.

Nowak worries that Google is losing ground to Amazon.com Inc. when it comes to retail search queries, given that more purchases are being made through voice commands and Amazon is widely thought to have a lead on Google in terms of smart-speaker penetration. He projects that roughly 70% of households will have speakers by 2022, and that Amazon will have 1.3 times more speakers in homes than Google will at that point, absent any dramatic action.

Also at VentureBeat and CNBC.

Related: Amazon Dominates Voice-Controlled Speaker Market
Voice-Powered Smart Speakers to be in 55% of U.S. Homes by 2022
Bluetooth Hack Affects 20 Million Amazon Echo and Google Home Devices


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by crafoo on Saturday November 11 2017, @03:49AM (10 children)

    by crafoo (6639) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 11 2017, @03:49AM (#595483)

    Not only did these surveillance devices get installed largely without challenge, we paid for it to happen. I think we are soft and complacent. Or, just enough of us are. The rest are frustrated and feel a little betrayed, or embarrassed for our fellow citizens.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @03:58AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @03:58AM (#595486)

      By not installing one of these devices voluntarily in your home, you will be identifying yourself as a weirdo who requires further scrutiny.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by SanityCheck on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:16AM (3 children)

        by SanityCheck (5190) on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:16AM (#595490)

        You must install it for the children! What if an accident happened, how can a child summon help?

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:36AM

          by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:36AM (#595497) Journal
          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by inertnet on Saturday November 11 2017, @11:23AM (1 child)

          by inertnet (4071) on Saturday November 11 2017, @11:23AM (#595554)

          It's better to have the children read 1984.

          • (Score: 4, Funny) by srobert on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:04PM

            by srobert (4803) on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:04PM (#595616)

            1984 was the year that Ronald Reagan won a second...
            No, Alexa, read the book 1984, by George Orwell.
            There are no records of any books written by George Orwell.
            Alexa, it was a very famous book written in 1948. It was made into a movie.
            You appear to be having a memory problem. Please stay in your home. Help will arrive shortly.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by stretch611 on Saturday November 11 2017, @10:32PM (1 child)

        by stretch611 (6199) on Saturday November 11 2017, @10:32PM (#595749)

        Hell, I'm so weird I even deleted my facebook account a decade ago and never looked back.

        Call me a paranoid privacy loving hippy radical freak... and I will agree.

        • (Score: 1) by Frost on Monday November 13 2017, @12:21AM

          by Frost (3313) on Monday November 13 2017, @12:21AM (#596020)

          One of these days I'll get around to creating a facebook account so I can delete it and start protecting my privacy too.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @05:17AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @05:17AM (#595500)

      Definitely soft. Even techie friends who should know better say "whatever if they want to track me whoop dee doo they won't see anything exciting. Plus what can we do? Privacy is dead!"

      It is extremely frustrating sheep behavior. They aren't wrong though, there is little we can do without massive support for change along with exposing the level of surveillance. Media propaganda and lack of reporting important stories is also a huge part. It'll get worse before it gets better.

      Hell, even net neutrality will succeed when they develop price points that people will swallow.

    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday November 11 2017, @05:51AM

      by mhajicek (51) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 11 2017, @05:51AM (#595508)

      Indeed. The people of America are begging to be surveilled and disarmed. Perhaps Apple will sell trendy iShacles.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:43PM (#595631)

      no, i feel very betrayed

      and even more so when relatives don't understand why i dont buy all this stuff since I am 'good with computers'--it's so inconvenient that I can't help them

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by c0lo on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:20AM (6 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:20AM (#595492)

    In my books, "voice-powered" means "using the energy from voice to function".
    Drifting meanings, is that a marketing/advertising tool?

    • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:44AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:44AM (#595498)

      It uses kinetic energy produced by your voice to trigger certain functionality.











      Asshat.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @05:42AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @05:42AM (#595506)

        Powered to be triggered by a question about the definition of "voice powered", which by definition is voice powered, or at least text powered.
        And we await the second iterartion: Triggered asshat worried about voice powered asshattery asking if this is the voice powered asshattery he was waiting for. Evidently, not. Trigger? Roy Rodger's Horse, had 'im stuffed. Stuffed Horse triggering to follow.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @08:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @08:42PM (#595726)

        Asshat.

        I respectively disagree. Using the term "Voice-Powered" instead of "voice activated" is just plain incorrect. It's bad English, bad journalism, and bad (although not unusual) marketing. Pointing out that it's an incorrect and dumb term is not asshattery. At worse, it's pedagogy. But frankly, if someone wants to communicate, they should use the correct terms.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Bot on Saturday November 11 2017, @11:52AM

      by Bot (3902) on Saturday November 11 2017, @11:52AM (#595556)

      voice -> information -> database -> marketers -> profiling -> advertising -> income -> power
      voice -> information -> database -> NSA -> profiling -> power

      Yes it is voice powered, the joke is on us.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:40PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @04:40PM (#595630)

      "In my books, "voice-powered" means "using the energy from voice to function"."

      Piezoelectricity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Saturday November 11 2017, @08:23PM

        by c0lo (156) on Saturday November 11 2017, @08:23PM (#595715)

        Yeah, well, make some computation "on a napkin" and look at the energy available in "voice" then compare with the energy required to power the entire device.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @06:39AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @06:39AM (#595517)

    If you're aware of what these devices are for, and you purchase them for any reason other than accessibility for a handicapped person, you're not worth the time of day. Civilizations laws are originally produced based off a society's moral standards, and if you're not willing to hold yourself to pretty general moral standards simply due to their lack of legal implementation you're worse than a common criminal. You betray your fellow man, dragging your nation further into a pit, carelessly, but only when your prey-like instincts tell you the risk is low. What a drain you are genetically to our species and to the foundation of our world's future. You deserve to be spat in the face.

    Go out into our fucked up world and do what you must to survive and be timely in order to keep your life together. Whether that's using google for work, a smartphone for business, or having to use Facebook for the various legitamitely good reasons I've heard people give me before. However, to go out of your way to purchase yourself a pair shackles and drive freedom further from our lives reveals too much about you; it reveals you to be worth very little in anything that matters.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @07:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @07:32AM (#595522)

      Hey some of us get turned on by a pair of really good shackles. Don't knock it till you try it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @02:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 11 2017, @02:23PM (#595581)

      Go out into our fucked up world and do what you must to survive and be timely in order to keep your life together. Whether that's using google for work, a smartphone for business, or having to use Facebook for the various legitamitely good reasons I've heard people give me before.

      No. Don't use monstrous surveillance engines like Google or Facebook, and quit any job that requires those things. By using them, you aid the monsters in a small way, making you part of the problem. Just because you can make money doing something doesn't mean it is ethical to do it. Making proprietary software, for example, is, to me, completely unethical.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @12:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @12:34AM (#595791)

      I have a different view. Most people buy things and then throw them away. We live in a disposable society. That is the way of the world right now. I personally do not want these things because they are hooked up to the cloud. Not because I care about privacy or anything like that. It is because I know how businesses act. Once the service on the other end is no longer profitable it will be turned off. You and *MANY* others now have a hunk of junk. I may or may not hack it to use for something else. But at that point I may as well have started with something kinda hackable in the first place. It would just piss me off and I know I personally would toss the expensive junk. As that is exactly what it would be at that point.

      No doubt about it these things are cool. But every last one is hooked 'to the cloud' with no real way to undo that and maintain a workable item without a decent amount of work. Then in some cases if you turn around and make it workable again and share with others the original company gets pissed off and starts sending out lawyer letters to scare you off.

      Web 2.0 has been a neat thing to watch but it has sucked the soul out of what the internet used to be about connecting people and ideas. Now it is about sucking personal information away from you to sell you useless junk from china.

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