Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Amazon finds its voice!

Amazon has introduced two new products recently: Fire TV, a new TV box to the market and Amazon Dash, a stand-alone gadget to scan and order groceries.

Fire TV is a set top box that streams video on to your TV and competes with Apple TV and Google Chromecast. Amazon Dash is a novel gadget that allows you to scan the barcodes on the products that you want to buy and later adds them to your checkout basket on Amazon Prime Fresh (https://fresh.amazon.com), an Amazon website that sells groceries and fresh foods.

Whats new and interesting to me is the Voice search feature on both of these new services from Amazon. In Fire TV, you can press the mic button on the remote and say the name of a show or actor that you wanna watch and the Fire TV searches it for you. I think this is just the initial version and may be later Amazon will come up with a full fledged conversational interface where you can have a conversation about the movies, actors, directors that you like and it can present you with movies that you might be interested to watch. Similarly, in Amazon Dash, you can press the mic button and say things that you need to buy, because you can not always find a barcode for the things you want to buy.  For instance, when you bite the last of your apples, you say "Apples" to Amazon Dash and they get added to your grocery list. You can order them later and get them delivered to your door step. As in Fire TV, I think this is only the beginning.

Its good to see Amazon embracing speech technology after so many years. I thought it would have happened sooner. With all the technology giants like Google (Now), Apple (Siri) and Microsoft (Cortana) having already embraced speech and conversational technologies, the latest from Amazon is only reassuring the hope that our conversations with the machines is here to stay.

No comments:

Post a Comment