Amazon has a serious Alexa user retention issue

captaincranky

Posts: 18,797   +7,724
Alexa can’t hold a candle to Google Assistant, and Siri is even behind Alexa. I see very few use cases why anyone would prefer an Alexa over Google’s service - that is light years ahead of any competition.
Despite all its flaws, and overreach into user's privacy, Google's search engine is phenomenal. You type in plain colloquial English, and get usable results every time. It almost completely ignores your syntactic idiosyncrasies, and just flat out and out, finds sh!t for you..
 

shark975

Posts: 83   +102
The NSA, the five eyes program, PRISM, oh dont forget that time amazon said ring data would be given to police, and carries extreme amounts of locational data

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy...res-loads-of-your-personal-info-report-finds/

How quickly the sheep forget when promised "well be good" by their benevolent megacorporation. Yes, let your house get covered in tracking devices citizen, nothing would EVER go wrong.

I have a $5 timer that I've used for nearly a decade for cooking, works great for stoves, microwaves, and more!

For speakers, I have an aux cord that can plug into my phone for audio, or it can simply get music from the radio mounted under the cupboard. No fancy tech required!

Honestly, I'll never get why people want or need voice activated gadgets to do things when cheaper, perfectly usable simple apparatuses have been available for decades.

None of that is easier than Alexa at all. Not to mention one device instead of two plus.

I hardly love Alexa read my post above. But I do think the things it does well are cool and give me that random, illogical "I'm living in the future" spark I love from time to time.

Here's the things I actually use Alexa for:

Asking the weather
asking the current temperature outside or inside (although sort of annoying that you have to specify which, but yes it will know inside temp if you have it connected to wifi tthermostat)
Setting timers or alarms (one of it's best uses, no manually setting alarms, and if I want to sleep another hour I just tell alexa to set an alarm for an hour)
Listening to streaming radio
Asking random trivia (hit or miss if it understands, but for example asking a celebrity's age is something it is perfect at)
Asking when local stores close (unfortunately it is hit or miss on this)
Kids like asking it to play whatever random kids song they like
It can tell you unbelievably bad jokes, just a useless novelty to show people
You can ask it how many calories is in X food (heavy hit or miss on this like most things beyond direct specific queries)
The killer app for me: Once you have a wifi thermostat, Alexa can control your thermostat.
If you have an echo show which is an alexa with a display, I can ask to view my security cam feeds. This is not nearly as cool as it sounds and I rarely do it.
Turning on precisely two devices, my smart plug connected to my bedside fan for white noise, and my 1up modded arcade. Turns out they dont have a easy way to rig up a switch and the common workaround in the arcade 1up modding scene is use alexa+cheap smartplug to turn it on, lol.
As far as cooking timers, I normally use my microwave display built in timer for that. It's nicer to be able to see "ok 7 minutes left" or whatever. You certainly could use Alexa though.

I personally dont really use much smart home stuff, I haven't invested in smart home lighting because I have a small home. It's easier for me to walk around and manually hit switches than mess with complex expensive smart lighting.

The only radio I really listen to is ESPN Radio. I can just say "alexa, play ESPN radio" and it does. That's so neat to me for some reason. I dont have to worry about static-y reception or any crap like that. Also, why would you use an aux cord instead of BT lol? Afraid the govt is going to uhh, hack your bluetooth and know the song you're streaming lol? I dont use Alexa for music/podcasts, for that I BT my phone to a BT speaker, that setup is much better for me for most audio besides radio streaming. You CAN use Alexa for podcast though, just without any manual FF/rewind controls, ability to browse what I'm looking for etc I find it highly limited.

As or the "$5" comment like thats some badge of honor, alexa is dirt cheap. All it is is a plug, a cheap speaker/mic, and a small enough CPU to connect to wifi. I think they usually run maybe $35? But I'm sure you can get cheaper. They keep making improvements to the speaker (which granted, is nice) and each one gets a little more expensive, I think the newest/best one is nominally $50 (frequent sales for less than that) but the older versions are still sold and cheaper. Probably like $15. Two covers my whole small home, one in kitchen one at bedside. I found more than 2 quickly gets very annoying.

I also highly recommend these third party plastic holder things where you can put the alexa so you dont have to run the cord, and it just occupies a plug. very nice, like $10. This is helpful so I dont have a annoying cord running to alexa on my nightstand

We get it, you're a cranky old white male lol. You're still fake. None of you believe any of that nonsense.

You have a phone. Right there all your fake privacy is gone. But somehow your worldview deems the phone ok but other things not? How convenient for you. Reminds of how Pelosi talks about climate change a lot then gets on a jet to go to her mansion.
 
Last edited:

captaincranky

Posts: 18,797   +7,724
We get it, you're a cranky old white male lol. You're still fake. None of you believe any of that nonsense.

You have a phone. Right there all your fake privacy is gone. But somehow your worldview deems the phone ok but other things not? How convenient for you. Reminds of how Pelosi talks about climate change a lot then gets on a jet to go to her mansion.
I'm a cranky old white man, and I have no need for a smartphone, and most likely wouldn't touch one if I did. I'm just too damned cheap.

$65.00 a month is already too much for !00 Mbs FIOS, and a castrated landline.

Not to mention I get to dicker around with the crew here at Techspot, in the comfort of my own home, on a 27" monitor.

Right now I'm envisioning some'one's stubby little fingers furiously tapping away at a 5" screen to rebuke me. Let the good times roll.
 

mrvco

Posts: 175   +172
"Alexa: Play cat flushing the toilet".

Yes, the novelty wears off in a matter of days.
 

SiJiL

Posts: 9   +8
Actually, a ten dollar mechanical clock timer works just as well for grow lights

Here's a two pack for $14.99, free shipping.

You can either set it and forget it, or when dealing with day length sensitive plants, (Cattleys, poinsettia), move the settings four times a year, (about 1 1/2 hours every 3 months, give or take), according to the seasons.
They're not lights for plants, just lights in the garden (mainly so we can see the dog when we let him out in the dark).
 

SiJiL

Posts: 9   +8
The NSA, the five eyes program, PRISM, oh dont forget that time amazon said ring data would be given to police, and carries extreme amounts of locational data

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy...res-loads-of-your-personal-info-report-finds/

How quickly the sheep forget when promised "well be good" by their benevolent megacorporation. Yes, let your house get covered in tracking devices citizen, nothing would EVER go wrong.

I have a $5 timer that I've used for nearly a decade for cooking, works great for stoves, microwaves, and more!

For speakers, I have an aux cord that can plug into my phone for audio, or it can simply get music from the radio mounted under the cupboard. No fancy tech required!

Honestly, I'll never get why people want or need voice activated gadgets to do things when cheaper, perfectly usable simple apparatuses have been available for decades.
Maybe because I didn't want my phone physically tethered to a device in the ceiling when I'm in the kitchen? And I paid £40 for my Echo, I'd hardly call that expensive for the things I use it for.
I'd also warrant that there's a "cheaper, perfectly usable simple apparatus" alternative to many of the electronic devices you do use in your house. Why do you use a timer at all when you could just remember to look at a clock? Technology progresses and there's no reason not to use it!
 

wizardB

Posts: 243   +115
Tin foil is on sale right now, in case you need a new hat. Also, this article has NOTHING to do with government, government overreach/spying, or Ring cameras. So you know, maybe pull your head out of your *** every now and then and post a RELEVANT comment on an article.
Fools that don't understand that your privacy and personal information are the most valuable thing in your world always talk of the hat.
 

Gezzer

Posts: 272   +140
For me there's just too many potential issues with a device like Alexa to outweigh what limited use I would have for it.

First off, the IoT is anything but secure. The more we connect things the more potential there is for security issues. Opening the door to abuse from various bad actors. This is compounded by the fact that most of the devices are built to be as cheap as possible with few security provisions really considered in the design.

Secondly, it seems to me that they're a perfect vehicle controlling user choice. For example ask Alexa for the number of a doctor and who's say what criteria is used. Possibly the one paying for a favorable position in the ranking? IMHO they have the potential to make customer profiling even more intrusive and insidious then it currently is.

Lastly, what can it do for me that I can't do myself. Do I really need to control my lights and heating by voice? My electronic devices? They remind me a lot of the internet connected frigs and microwaves that were supposed to be the next great thing, that didn't really happen. Maybe for a select few, people with mobility issues, or remotely monitoring a vacation house. But I'm already fat enough as it is, I really don't need another excuse to not get up off the couch and change the thermostat setting do I?
 

ilovetohateyou

Posts: 23   +2
Actually, a ten dollar mechanical clock timer works just as well for grow lights

Here's a two pack for $14.99, free shipping.

You can either set it and forget it, or when dealing with day length sensitive plants, (Cattleys, poinsettia), move the settings four times a year, (about 1 1/2 hours every 3 months, give or take), according to the seasons.

Or you can buy a smart plug on sale and set a schedule for it to turn on at sunrise and off at sunset. Which is what I did. No always-on microphones anywhere in my house.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,797   +7,724
Or you can buy a smart plug on sale and set a schedule for it to turn on at sunrise and off at sunset. Which is what I did. No always-on microphones anywhere in my house.
That is good way of accomplishing that task, However, I have this irrational fear of the "IoT",

What if your timer gets hacked, and decides your light should play to the beat of some inane pop song?

When I was much younger, way back when mastodon meat was suffering the horrific price increases beef is today, we would get stoned and delve into "Existentialism". Well, the old "if a tree falls in the forest" saw, got tedious in a big, big hurry. Yes, even in our "altered states"
So, I would tell them that I was a "right wing Republican in disguise as a Hippie to learn their ways and habits". This, setting the stage for my version of existentialism which was, "how do you know the TV isn't watching us, while we're watching it?

Funny thing, five decades later, that's just about come true.

Strange world we live in now, it's a combination of Huxley's Brave New World, and Orwell's, "1984".."World" for the toys and genetic engineering, and "1984" for the Russians amassing on the Ukraine border. Then there's the North Korean a**hole with the Beatles hairdo.

But then, as Huxley sad, "everyone's happy now". (as long as we have our cell phones and gaming consoles, that is).
 
Last edited:

ilovetohateyou

Posts: 23   +2
That is good way of accomplishing that task, However, I have this irrational fear of the "IoT",

What if your timer gets hacked, and decides your light should play to the beat of some inane pop song?

When I was much younger, way back when mastodon meat was suffering the horrific price increases beef is today, we would get stoned and delve into "Existentialism". Well, the old "if a tree falls in the forest" saw, got tedious in a big, big hurry. Yes, even in our "altered states"
So, I would tell them that I was a "right wing Republican in disguise as a Hippie to learn their ways and habits". This, setting the stage for my version of existentialism which was, "how do you know the TV isn't watching us, while we're watching it?

Funny thing, five decades later, that's just about come true.

Strange world we live in now, it's a combination of Huxley's Brave New World, and Orwell's, "1984".."World" for the toys and genetic engineering, and "1984" for the Russians amassing on the Ukraine border. Then there's the North Korean a**hole with the Beatles hairdo.

But then, as Huxley sad, "everyone's happy now". (as long as we have our cell phones and gaming consoles, that is).
I have the same concerns about IoT which is why the Google Home I got for $1 and the Echo Dot I got for free aren't used.

The smart plug, however, is just tied to an account I already use anyway, and can only be administered through that. I wouldn't connect a life-support machine to it. It's just some lights, and I'd know if there was something amiss.

Convenience and privacy are at odds, but the point of using the smart plug is that it can offer more convenience benefits than privacy losses. Amazon knows nothing about what is plugged into it though if they really cared they could analyze things and figure out based upon the schedule and wattage that it correlates highly with what they know to be grow lights.

I too am old(er than many). I like to tell people that I remember when you called a place, not someone's pocket.

Our dystopian fictions mostly focus on us being oppressed and controlled. So infrequently does it truly explore how our modern technologies charm us with their convenience whilst slowly imprisoning us as they evolve from curiosity to luxury to standard to necessity.