Amazon Echo has a new calling feature – Alexa Calling. It works just like a landline phone. But it comes with a major privacy law. That is, it won’t allow blocking of callers.
How was it discovered?
According to Elise Oras, when she updated the Amazon Alexa app and imported her contacts to the app, she was dumbfounded to know that:
“…every contact that also has the Alexa app is now in my Alexa Calling contacts. Among my contacts were old landlords, many co-workers, random vendor account managers, city councilmen, and of course, crazy ex-boyfriends. And each one now has a direct line into my home.”
The Amazon’s support team recommended to delete those offending people from her phone so their numbers are also removed from Alexa. But we all know it’s not a practical solution.
What’s more annoying is that even when she deleted the Amazon Alexa app from her phone and reinstalled it, all contacts are still on the list. The best solution is to disable the Alexa Calling feature, according to Alexa support team. To do so, she’d have to contact Amazon’s support team through its Contact Us page. After doing so, the contacts were removed.
Amazon will likely to improve this new feature considering that it’s always open to new possibilities for its devices. However, launching a calling feature without taking into account to include privacy tools is a very unfortunate event.
Besides Calling feature, Amazon’s Echo lets you control your smart home. One great example is that you can control your home’s lights to turn it on or off. Not only that, but it can also change its color. Of course, the lights must have a color-changing feature so Alexa could change it.
If you have a smart garage door, you can command Alexa to open or close it. When changing the temperature in your home, you just need to tell Alexa to set the temperature. A few thermostats on the market are compatible with Alexa.
With Amazon Echo, you can ditch the remote control for your TV because Alexa can turn it on or off. It can also open Netflix.
If you’re a music lover, you can command Alexa to play music. By default, the app can play music via Amazon Music. However, you can still use Spotify by changing the app’s default player.
It’s true that Alexa can’t communicate to every device yet. That’s because not all smart home devices are compatible with it. But there’s an alternative. You can use IFTT to create a rule.
Amazon Echo Ads
Currently, there are no ads on Amazon Echo. However, with the latest partnership with top brands and Alexa developers, you’d soon get ads from this device. In a press release:
“VoiceLabs, the leader in Voice Experience Analytics, today releases Sponsored Messages, enabling top-tier brands to reach voice-first consumers in the home and Alexa developers to invest in their applications.
After creating a new audio format and running extensive consumer tests, VoiceLabs believes this will be the first ad format that consumers will understand and accept on voice assistant platforms. Sponsored Messages have been in the testing phase for the past few months, with positive consumer feedback and brand engagement lift.”
But this feature has yet to be launched. However, VoiceLabs stated that it’d be available soon.