via IFTTT 2018 Amazon Echo and Alexa Updates and Features Year in Review
Amazon Echo and their voice assistant Alexa both had massive years when it comes to updates, upgrades, new features, and more. This was probably the biggest year for Amazon and their smart home and home automation products, and so I’m taking the time today to go through the entire year for #Amazon #Echo and their voice assistant #Alexa.
Really, when you look at the year that was in 2018, Amazon’s growth and expansion mostly came from a few events and/or incidents. They had their hardware event late in the year that introduced 21 new products. That included the 3rd generation Echo Dot, the 2nd generation Echo Plus and Echo Show, the new Echo Sub, Echo Link, Echo Link Amp, Echo Clock, Echo Auto, Echo Input, Fire TV Recast, and the famed Alexa Microwave.
On top of that, we saw some expansion in the way of languages and therefore countries that I would call the Echo product completely “in”. Although the Echo products are sold in 40…or 80 countries depending on what you read, they’re not actually localized because they don’t have the ability to speak the local language. Amazon’s expansion here was small, and they need to play catch up now with Google having put up 30 languages this year.
Where Amazon has really expanded is on the business deal and relationship front. Not only have they partnered recently with Apple Music, but they’ve also built quite the partnership with Microsoft over the last half of the year.
That’s not where the relationships stopped, as Amazon is continually publishing new APIs for developers to build skills off of. This is great to see and it’s something I’ll focus more on in 2019.
The Alexa app had a complete rebuild, and while it’s great, I think it shows a little less than Google’s app. I like the new redesign for sure, and it’s allowed for great new functionality in things like music, multi-room audio, and of course the new speaker pairing capabilities.
The Routines capabilities with our Echo devices is unlike any other on the market today. It’s the first true automation capability inside of a smart home speaker, and I believe Amazon is light years ahead of Google and Apple here. Simple things like the ability to “wait” creates great options for new routines that help you accomplish a lot.
We had new functions like Whisper Mode and many other features that changed how we interacted with the device, and despite all of these great things that were added, there’s one thing that I keep struggling with, with #Alexa.
See Alexa is now trailing Siri (2-3% in terms of correct responses). They’re really trailing the Google Assistant. Alexa has less languages than Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana. Seriously, Cortana!
They’ve had a few incidents of recording people who weren’t asking to be recorded. They’ve had records brought into court, and Alexa has even reportedly told someone to kill their foster parents. These, coupled with some inability to answer queries or questions, erode trust with Alexa.
As a result, Google’s won the last 2 quarters when it comes to sales of their Mini device (compared to the Dot). Amazon still sells more Echo devices overall, so they’re still doing amazing things and it’s clear to me that Amazon is still in the lead. They also did enough to get a better grade from me than Google. B+ vs Google’s B grading.
If you need any recommendations for home automation products, here’s my Amazon Influencer Shop. Yes, I make money if you buy a product from Amazon through this link, but I’ve only included products I personally recommend. It’s a curated list of high-quality smart home products.
Thanks for watching, and please subscribe below!