Committed to privacy, Snips founder wants to take on Alexa and Google, with blockchain

Earlier this year we saw the headlines of how the users of popular voice assistants like Alexa and Siri and continue to face issues when their private data is compromised, or even sent to random people. In May it was reported that Amazon’s Alexa recorded a private conversation and sent it to a random contact. […]

Security researchers found a way to hack into the Amazon Echo

Hackers at DefCon have exposed new security concerns around smart speakers. Tencent’s Wu HuiYu and Qian Wenxiang spoke at the security conference with a presentation called Breaking Smart Speakers: We are Listening to You, explaining how they hacked into an Amazon Echo speaker and turned it into a spy bug. The hack involved a modified […]

Surprise, no one buys things via Alexa

Some numbers published in a report from The Information reveal that very few owners of Alexa-powered devices use them for shopping. Of about 50 million Alexa users, only about 100,000 reportedly bought something via voice interface more than once. It’s not exactly surprising, but it may still harm the narrative of conversational commerce that Amazon […]

Alexa Cast will let users cast Amazon Music to Alexa devices

Amazon today announced Alexa Cast to allow for better music control on Alexa devices. Users will be able to more easily transition from listening to through the Amazon Music app to listening to Amazon Music on an Alexa device. This is a much-needed function for Amazon’s core services. Before Alexa Cast, it can be messy […]

When in Rome is the first Alexa-powered board game

Years ago, in the heyday of home video, I played a board games that used VHS tapes and electronic parts to help spur the action along. From Candy Land VCR to Captain Power, game makers were doing the best they could with a new technology. Now, thanks to Alexa, they can try something even cooler […]

Digging deeper into smart speakers reveals two clear paths

In a truly fascinating exploration into two smart speakers – the Sonos One and the Amazon Echo – BoltVC’s Ben Einstein has found some interesting differences in the way a traditional speaker company and an infrastructure juggernaut look at their flagship devices. The post is well worth a full read but the gist is this: […]

Boost VC backs Storyline’s Alexa skill builder

Have you felt a disconnect with your Alexa and wished she could share more of your sense of humor or tell you an actually scary ghost story? Startup Storyline makes designing your own Alexa skills as easy and dragging and dropping speech blocks, and has just raised $770,000 in a funding round led by Boost VC to […]

Amazon’s Alexa app for iOS finally gets voice control

Way back at the beginning of the year (seemingly 24 or 25 months, at this point), Amazon brought voice control to its Alexa app for Android. The move marked a big step toward the company’s push onto third-party mobile devices. At the time, it added that it would bring similar functionality to the iPhone “soon” […]

Motiv’s fitness ring can help you find a lost iPhone

I was surprisingly impressed when I tested out Motiv’s fitness ring. Honestly, I’m not a ring wearer myself, but it’s nice to see a hardware startup think outside the fitness band — and produce a surprisingly capable product in the process. The company’s also done a pretty decent job continuing to add features to the […]

This family’s Echo sent a private conversation to a random contact

A Portland family tells KIRO news that their Echo recorded and then sent a private conversation to someone on its list of contacts without telling them. Amazon called it an “extremely rare occurrence.” (And provided a more detailed explanation, below.) Portlander Danielle said that she got a call from one of her husband’s employees one […]