Google falls to third place in worldwide smart speaker market

The global smart speaker market grew 55.4% in the second quarter to reach 26.1 million shipments, according to a new report from Canalys. Amazon continued to lead the race, accounting for 6.6 million units shipped in the quarter. Google, however, fell to the third spot as China’s Baidu surged ahead. Baidu in Q2 grew a […]

Amazon’s lead EU data regulator is asking questions about Alexa privacy

Amazon’s lead data regulator in Europe, Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection, has raised privacy concerns about its use of manual human reviews of Alexa AI voice assistant recordings. A spokesman for the regulator confirmed in an email to TechCrunch it is discussing the matter with Amazon, adding: “At this stage, we cannot comment further […]

You can now ask your car how your stock is trading

TD Ameritrade has integrated with in-vehicle software platforms Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon’s Echo Auto to give customers the ability to check their stock portfolio or get the latest financial news while sitting behind the wheel. TD Ameritrade launched the suite of in-vehicle experiences this week, the latest move by the company to place […]

Alexa, does the Echo Dot Kids protect children’s privacy?

A coalition of child protection and privacy groups has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging it to investigate a kid-focused edition of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker. The complaint against Amazon Echo Dot Kids, which has been lodged with the FTC by groups including the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the Center […]

Review: The $199 Echo Link turns the fidelity up to 11

The Echo Link takes streaming music and makes it sound better. Just wirelessly connect it to an Echo device and plug it into a set of nice speakers. It’s the missing link. The Link bridges the gap between streaming music and a nice audio system. Instead of settling for the analog connection of an Echo […]

You can now ask Alexa to control your Roku devices

Roku this morning announced its devices will now be compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. Through a new Roku skill for Alexa, Roku owners will be able to control their devices in order to do things like launch a channel, play or pause a show, search for entertainment options and more. Roku TV owners will additionally be […]

Report: Smart speaker adoption in U.S. reaches 66M units, with Amazon leading

Smart speakers had a good holiday. Amazon already said its Echo Dot outsold all other items on its site this holiday season, which hinted toward the sizable growth for the voice-powered speaker market. Today, research firm CIRP is reporting the U.S. installed base for speakers grew to 66 million units in December 2018, up from […]

Amazon hires Disney SVP Kyle Laughlin as director of Alexa Gadgets

Amazon has hired Disney SVP Kyle Laughlin to head its Alexa Gadgets division, TechCrunch has learned. Laughlin spent eight years at Disney, most recently as the SVP and general manager of Games, Apps and Connected Experience at the entertainment giant’s Consumer Products and Interactive Media division. According to his LinkedIn profile, the role found Laughlin […]

Hackers hijack thousands of Chromecasts to warn of latest security bug

Hackers have hijacked thousands of exposed Chromecast streaming devices to warn users of the latest security flaw to affect the device. But other security researchers say that the bug — if left unfixed — could be used for more disruptive attacks. The culprits, known as Hacker Giraffe and J3ws3r, have become the latest person to figure […]

Alexa crashed on Christmas Day

Amazon this morning said its Alexa devices were among the holiday season’s best-sellers, particularly the Echo and Echo Dot. But the influx of new users setting up their devices for the first time on Christmas Day appeared to be more than Alexa could handle. The service crashed briefly on Christmas, as thousands of new Alexa […]