Amazon continues the race to make Alexa smarter

The Spark

13th September 2017

If you thought technology was at its best when you found out that new smartphones could survive underwater, think again. Technology never seems to stop growing. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all the trends and new inventions and with Alexa, it’s no different. Amazon Echo, aka Alexa, is a hands-free device you control with your voice. It can play your music, read your text messages, give you a weather report, order your shopping and more. It basically has a mind of its own and in the near future, it might just start to develop feelings and become your friend. You never know.

Currently, its ability to do all of the above is fascinating enough but to captivate you, even more, engineers at Amazon are working to develop Alexa so [she] can start answering follow up questions. For instance, if you ask her to play a song by The Rolling Stones, ‘Alexa play Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones’ and follow up by asking about the name of the members of the band, ‘Alexa who was in the band The Rolling Stones?’ she will know that the context is The Rolling Stones. If attempting to go beyond commanding her to play a song isn’t a call for trouble, we don’t know what’s next; ‘Alexa, what do you think of the shirt I’m wearing?’ It might just be able to see what you’re wearing. Creepy.

To compare Alexa to its nearest rival, Google Home (aka OK Google or Google Now), Alexa has recently passed the 15,000 skill threshold, while Google Home has less than 400 skills. This is very impressive, considering Google Now was released before Alexa back in July 2012, while Alexa was released 2 years later in November 2014. Though you can argue that they were both coming around at about the same time, Alexa’s innovation seems to be more impressive than Google Home. To be fair though, Google Now developed from an app to a whole new device with more features than the app. People are still able to use the Google app for the same purposes with just fewer features than the device.

Some argue that the field for smart speakers is getting more and more competitive as more devices like Alexa being announced and released. For instance, in China, you have devices such as such as Xiaomi which are similar to Alexa and Google Home. Do you think they’re all friends? Bad joke! Sorry. This only makes it harder for Amazon to step up their game and be able to carry out their plans on Alexa and remain the best in the business. Some also say that social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram may join the trend and enable their voice controlling services or devices.

So since its release, Alexa has been changed, developed, relaunched and developed again by keeping up with all the trends. But for the minute we don’t know what’s next in store for the device. By the looks of it, it will continue to be the next big thing.