JeffD wrote on Nov 22, 2022, 01:17:
I think voice assist are great and are still needed for most home automation. However the reason adoption now is really slow is the people who have not picked it up yet are either convinced they don't need anything out of it, or are unwilling to sacrifice their personal information and privacy for the all mighty corpo dollar. you can't do much about the first but they really need to look at the second. They need to consider which is most important, aggregated consumer information or a large user pool for OTHER services like voice assisted shopping. Google and amazon make no excuses, their voices assist first and foremost will relay anonymous information about everything you say and do to it for the purpose of selling info to advertisers. People do not like that.
And they might want to act fast. Apparently Ai engines utilizing everyone's fav GPU hardware which are currently enjoying the limelight in art generation are also quite adept at handling voices recognition. The need for cloud based computing to handle the number of accents and english to text to conversation decoding could come to an end.
Amazon's issue isn't adoption. Adoption is fantastic. Amazon's issue is monetization. These things require on-going service, but aren't subscription based. On top of that, there's little reason to continuously upgrade, as sound quality has improved but it isn't really game changing, and has diminishing returns at some point, anyway.
Amazon always assumed they could monetize these. Either by having you shop through it, or ads. The biggest issues are that no one wants to shop through them, people want to price compare and read reviews. Even sending information to your phone or tv is less useful and more intrusive than just opening your phone and searching.
Then there are ads. Amazon can't do this. Advertisers aren't interested, and consumers have told Amazon repeatedly that they'd happily throw out their cheap devices for a competitor without ads.
Lastly, Amazon has been trying hard to condition users to more capabilities, and for me personally, it's insanely infuriating. My Alexa talks so damn much. It's endless telling me "did you know you could" or "would you also like to" or just over explaining things like telling me the weekend forecast when I ask for the temperature at the moment. I have every option disabled, but it still just talks too much instead of telling me exactly what I asked for and nothing more.
And contrary to what you say, they don't really do much with the data. At all. You can download what they get from you. It isn't anything used for advertising. Us advertisers don't care about how often you ask for the weather or to turn on the bedroom lights. Alexa learns nothing useful about you. In order to get anything useful it would have to do significant privacy violations, and it does not. So, yeah, that's a dead end that is used by consumers that misunderstand what it does as a fear tactic. Advertisers aren't building audiences, or learning anything about you, from your Echo.
So yeah. They've absolutely won the smart speaker war, but learned that it maybe wasn't the victory they wanted. They'll continue running them, but probably not do much to improve them. Not that I see much value in more improvements, other than the bad app. A shame there's no alternative other than Google, with the same issues and less choice, or Apple, which sucks. We've moved beyond this device easily being something that lives exclusively in the home, but at the same time, voice commands make some things so much easier.