The Stack Archive

Cloud giants – particularly Amazon – are investing in voice control to ‘create deep customer relationships’.

Tue 22 Apr 2014

James McQuivey, principal analyst at Forrester Research, examines the issue of voice control as the new user interface.  In particular he observes that Amazon has already stolen a lead and is looking to embed microphones into its customers’ lives ‘generating deep insight’ into who we are and then using that information to offer services to us.  He avoids the privacy issues and focuses on why this is not just a me-too Siri – this is more about listening than talking. Frankly, I find it a spooky prospect and one fraught with dangers.


“In two unrelated announcements, Amazon made it clear that the company understands the coming power of voice and that it’s prepared to take steps the other digital firms cannot. The first sign was the inclusion of a microphone in the remote control for the company’s new video streaming box, the FireTV. Designed to let you search the video streaming box for movies and TV shows, nothing will stop Amazon from soon having you press the microphone button to say, “Buy that Kitchenaid mixer,” in response to an ad you just saw on TV. Through the magic of audio fingerprinting, Amazon could do that even when you’re not watching video through the Fire TV box.

I recently predicted that Amazon would likely launch a collection of microphones you would place in key points in your home – one on the bathroom mirror, one in the car, one in the kitchen – and that the company would be smart to charge as little as $40 for a three pack of these microphones. Amazon understands the importance of microphones even more than I thought, however – the company has made the Amazon Dash free to its Amazon Fresh customers who request one.”


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