Dual voice assistants: Facebook Portal vs 2nd generation Amazon Echo Show

Alexa, are you there?

Facebook Portal and Amazon Echo Show both embark on Alexa, Amazon’s artificial intelligence; the opportunity to tour the functionality of this virtual assistant.

Since the release of the first Amazon Echo, Alexa has come a long way, starting with data security. Jeff Bezos’ firm had no choice but to strengthen its data processing system following the recent episodes of listening to voice assistants. In this sense, Amazon Alexa has therefore considerably improved the Alexa application. If it is still possible to delete the conversation history manually via the application (by going to the “Alexa and your personal information” section accessible from the settings), we can also do it by voice by asking: “Alexa, delete everything I said today.” Note however that to access this function, you must first go through the application and activate voice suppression by choosing the period and the device requested by this action.

To activate the deletion of voice history, you must go through the settings of the Alexa application.

To close this chapter on data protection, it is now possible to decide whether Amazon can use our voice recordings to help develop new features. Please note, this function is activated by default, and you should therefore take steps to deactivate it.

Since the last update in October 2018, there are no significant new features on the Alexa application. Of course, the number of skills continues to increase, they are now more than 100,000. Recall that skills are actions integrated into the application to expand the skills of his domestic assistant Echo. Divided into several categories of type Food, News, Weather or Sport, these sections each include many actions that must be activated. For example, you must activate the Franceinfo skill to be able to tell your Amazon Echo: “Alexa, what is my daily flash?”, and access the information. In short, the more skills we have, the larger the field of action.

From the application, it is possible to create routines in order to automate a series of personalized actions via voice control. It is therefore possible to say: “Alexa, start my day”, and thus get the weather, traffic information or news from the daily flash. In short, you can generate a multitude of scenarios to wake up gently or to sleep in the best conditions.

Of course, Alexa offers the possibility of controlling the equipment of the house by voice by asking “Alexa, turn on the living room light” or “Alexa, increase the heating temperature”, and this after integrating the devices in question via the application. Many players in this sector work hand in hand with Amazon to open this ecosystem: we find Philips Hue, Netatmo, Ring, Tado, Bosch Smart Home or Roborock. If the list is more provided than at the birth of the voice assistant, it remains quite concise, but it is likely that it will get richer over time.

Finally, the voice assistant can also create reminders, shopping lists, tell stories, and of course jokes (which are not always unanimous!). The user can also access their contact list to call and send messages via VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), provided that the recipients have a device from the Echo range or the Alexa application installed on their smartphones.

Note that Alexa can now recognize voices, as Google has been offering for some time. To do this, go to the account settings, then on “Recognized voices”, in order to create a voice profile. Once this profile is recognized, it is then necessary to tell his Amazon Echo “Alexa, recognize my voice”. This function allows the assistant to personalize certain actions (news flash, radio, etc.). It is also possible to create several voice profiles for family members.

The user is asked a series of questions so that Alexa can recognize their voice.

The user is asked a series of questions so that Alexa can recognize their voice.

The Device tab will allow you to connect all the assistants or devices integrating Alexa that can be grouped in the form of “Groups” in order to better navigate if you have several devices.

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