Until recently, Siri’s only been available on an iOS device, Mac, or (in limited form) through your Apple TV. However, in June, Apple debuted its true Amazon Echo home competitor: the HomePod. Unfortunately, if you want one now you’ll have to wait—it’s not shipping until December. Still, we can make some comparisons about the two lines of products, as well as how Alexa and Siri compare as disembodied virtual assistants. 

In September, 2019 Amazon launched many new devices achieving many records while competing with the world's smart home industry. The new Echo Studio became the first smart speaker with 360 sound and Dolby sound. Other new devices included an Echo dot with a clock behind the fabric, a new third-generation Amazon Echo, Echo Show 8, a plug-in Echo device, Echo Flex, Alexa built-in wireless earphones, Echo buds, Alexa built-in spectacles, Echo frames, an Alexa built-in Ring, and Echo Loop.

I have 3 Echo's and each one is now unplugged. If you go to the Alexa app and choose your device ---> settings and then history you'll find a long list of recordings the echo has made while secretly listening into your home. I had no idea this was happening and I find it very creepy. Nobody was using the wake word, etc. It just listened in and then recorded bits of conversation. I'm getting rid of them.

Until recently, Siri’s only been available on an iOS device, Mac, or (in limited form) through your Apple TV. However, in June, Apple debuted its true Amazon Echo home competitor: the HomePod. Unfortunately, if you want one now you’ll have to wait—it’s not shipping until December. Still, we can make some comparisons about the two lines of products, as well as how Alexa and Siri compare as disembodied virtual assistants.
I have 3 Echo's and each one is now unplugged. If you go to the Alexa app and choose your device ---> settings and then history you'll find a long list of recordings the echo has made while secretly listening into your home. I had no idea this was happening and I find it very creepy. Nobody was using the wake word, etc. It just listened in and then recorded bits of conversation. I'm getting rid of them.
In addition to performing pre-set functions, Alexa can also perform additional functions through third-party skills that users can enable.[28] Some of the most popular Alexa skills in 2018 included "Question of the Day" and "National Geographic Geo Quiz" for trivia; "TuneIn Live" to listen to live sporting events and news stations; "Big Sky" for hyper local weather updates; "Sleep and Relaxation Sounds" for listening to calming sounds; "Sesame Street" for children's entertainment; and "Fitbit" for Fitbit users who want to check in on their health stats.[29]
In the home automation space, Alexa can interact with devices from several manufacturers including SNAS, Fibaro, Belkin, ecobee, Geeni, IFTTT,[35] Insteon, LIFX, LightwaveRF, Nest, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Wink,[36][37] and Yonomi.[38] The Home Automation feature was launched on April 8, 2015.[39] Developers are able to create their own smart home skills using the Alexa Skills Kit.
You can create a flash briefing skill if you own, or have the right to distribute, original text or audio content that updates frequently. You should understand web technologies and have the ability to configure HTTPS, RSS and/or JSON content. The voice interactions for a flash briefing skill are defined by Amazon, but you must be able edit the format of your content so that the flash briefing Skill API can understand it.
Let me preface this review by revealing a few facts about myself. I am male, aged 75 years old, and more tech savvy than most people my age, but if you can use a modern computer, and own one, you should have not problem using this device. IT IS SO FAR, MIRACULOUS, and intriguing! I bought mine about a week ago, and waited till a couple days ago to jump in with "both feet" and set it up. Even though I once did computer tech support for Dell computers, It was a long time ago now, and a lot of tech has evolved since then, and i have the same fear of new things as most people my age, though admittedly higher skills. I also own an Iphone 6s plus, of which I have mixed emotions. The Iphone is made by apple, and Apple's idea of "intuitive" and mine are very different. Microsoft is much better at designing "intuitive" into an operating system than Apple. Aniyway, You will need some type of connected WIFI device to use this product. (read that Cell Phone with it's own WIFI abilities, and Bluetooth built in) You will need to download the "Alexa App. " on that device to set up the Alexa products.
The first of the Alexa flash briefing options to include is an error message. Alexa will read this to your audience if your briefing is unavailable. Next, you’ll be asked to paste the RSS feed provided by your audio host. The “preamble” field is a short, introductory cue that Alexa will read before delivering your briefing. Finally, fill out any remaining Alexa flash briefing options — frequency, briefing name, category/genre and more — and soon you’ll be ready to launch.
You can create a flash briefing skill if you own, or have the right to distribute, original text or audio content that updates frequently. You should understand web technologies and have the ability to configure HTTPS, RSS and/or JSON content. The voice interactions for a flash briefing skill are defined by Amazon, but you must be able edit the format of your content so that the flash briefing Skill API can understand it.
The flash briefing skill submission process provides the steps to submit descriptive information about your skill and configure one or more feeds for each skill. You can then test your skill in your Alexa-enabled device and provide additional information about how you handle customer data and privacy. Once you've provided this information, you can submit your flash briefing skill for certification and use by customers. 

Google Assistant doesn’t have flash briefings in the Alexa sense — instead, you’ll be publishing your audio content as a podcast. This is a little more technical than Alexa’s process. First, your briefing will need its own homepage. Second, you’ll need to edit the briefing’s RSS feed to include snippets of code that are required for Google Assistant to recognize it in its directory — check out all the requirements here. Google doesn’t require setting up an Assistant action. Once you’ve included the necessary code in your RSS feed, your podcast will show up automatically within search results.

Amazon blamed the incident on "human error" and called it an "isolated single case." However, in May 2018 an Alexa device in Portland, Oregon, recorded a family's conversation and sent it to one of their contacts without their knowledge. The company dismissed the incident as an "extremely rare occurrence" and claimed the device "interpreted background conversation" as a sequence of commands to turn on, record, send the recording, and select a specific recipient.[78]


In November 2018, Amazon sent 1700 recordings of an American couple to an unrelated European man. The incident proves that Alexa records people without their knowledge.[76] Although the man who received the recordings reported the anomaly to Amazon, the company did not notify the victim until German magazine c't also contacted them and published a story about the incident. The recipient of the recordings contacted the publication after weeks went by following his report with no response from Amazon (although the company did delete the recordings from its server). When Amazon did finally contact the man whose recordings had been sent to a stranger, they claimed to have discovered the error themselves and offered him a free Prime membership and new Alexa devices by way of apology.[77]
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Amazon blamed the incident on "human error" and called it an "isolated single case." However, in May 2018 an Alexa device in Portland, Oregon, recorded a family's conversation and sent it to one of their contacts without their knowledge. The company dismissed the incident as an "extremely rare occurrence" and claimed the device "interpreted background conversation" as a sequence of commands to turn on, record, send the recording, and select a specific recipient.[78]

You can create a flash briefing skill if you own, or have the right to distribute, original text or audio content that updates frequently. You should understand web technologies and have the ability to configure HTTPS, RSS and/or JSON content. The voice interactions for a flash briefing skill are defined by Amazon, but you must be able edit the format of your content so that the flash briefing Skill API can understand it.
If you have a handful of Alexa-capable smart home products, you can now set up commands known as routines. Routines let Alexa perform multiple actions with a single voice command. For example, you could say “Alexa, start my day” for her to start playing your daily Flash Briefing, give you an update on the weather, and turn on the lights in the living room.

Both devices work with a variety of smart home lights, thermostats, plugs, and more, but Amazon’s Echo definitely works with a greater range of brands and products. The key difference is that with Apple’s HomePod, the compatible devices need to be HomeKit-enabled, where Echo-compatible smart home products don’t (necessarily). If you’ve already got some connected home products installed, you can check and see which platform it’s compatible with.
For households with more than one member, one's Alexa contacts are pooled across all of the devices that are registered to its associated account. However, within Alexa's app one is only able to start conversations with its Alexa contacts.[50] When accessed and supported by an Alexa app or Echo device, Alexa messaging is available to anyone in one's household. These messages can be heard by anyone with access in the household. This messaging feature does not yet contain a password protection or associated PIN. Anyone who has access to one's cell phone number is able to use this feature to contact them through their supported Alexa app or Echo device. The feature to block alerts for messages and calls is available temporarily by utilizing the Do Not Disturb feature.[51]
From that point on, simply plug in the Echo device into a regular 110V. wall outlet, it comes with a plug in adapter. There are no batteries in this device, although some have them. A NOTE HERE" YES, YOU CAN UNPLUG IT WITHOUT IT LOSING ITS BRAINS AND REQUIRING REPEAT SET UP. So though not specified anywhere I read it evidently has some on board nonvolatile memory built in that will allow this. ( i spent several research sessions attempting to find this out, and finally had to bite the bullet and just try it. ) I moved it from one room location to another and within a few seconds it greeted me and said it was operational. NOW I AM ONLY AN OLD GUY WITH PRETTY GOOD HEARING ABILITIES YET, (NOT EXACTLY AN AUDIOPHILE ) BUT WITH DOLBY DIGITAL SOUND, THIS IS ONE NICE SOUNDING SPEAKER SYSTEM,

In the home automation space, Alexa can interact with devices from several manufacturers including SNAS, Fibaro, Belkin, ecobee, Geeni, IFTTT,[35] Insteon, LIFX, LightwaveRF, Nest, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Wink,[36][37] and Yonomi.[38] The Home Automation feature was launched on April 8, 2015.[39] Developers are able to create their own smart home skills using the Alexa Skills Kit.
Note: Your Flash Briefing settings apply to all Alexa devices registered to your Amazon account, and all users in your home get access to the same Flash Briefing content. However, if you or anyone in your home has a voice profile, Flash Briefing automatically skips stories and news items you've already heard. To learn more, go to About Alexa Voice Profiles.
It's been a game changer!! My Dad struggled, even with the app on his phone to control the lights. Now that we have a Dot in his bedroom & an Echo & Dot in the living room, he's very easily learned how to ask Alexa to turn on the hallway light, his bedroom light when he's going to bed!! NO MORE STUMBLING AROUND IN THE DARK or trying to remember where he put his flashlight!! 

With Echo, you can talk to almost anyone hands-free—no tapping or searching required. Use Drop In to instantly connect to another compatible Echo at home or send an announcement across Echo devices, like calling the family for dinner or reminding the kids to go to bed. Plus, now with Skype calling stay in touch with friends and family in over 150 countries.
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