The Comfortably Dumb

The most recent issue of my weekend newsletter, in which I conveyed my disinterest in engaging with products equipped with surveillance-type technologies, elicited quite a reaction from the readers. I was personally shocked by the number of people who were in agreement with my desire to have devices that eschew the add-ons from big technology … Continue reading The Comfortably Dumb

All About Alexa

Given its dominance of the e-commerce and cloud services, Amazon, not surprisingly, had a great fourth quarter of 2018. I was checking out their earnings release this morning, and one thing that struck me was the number of times they mention Alexa in the press release — 25. That’s a lot. But it’s not just … Continue reading All About Alexa

Why without context Google’s billion device “Assistant” claim is B.S.

Google says its “Assistant” (the voice-based query service) is soon going to be on a billion devices –primarily phones, and a majority of them being on the Android phones. There are some obvious questions that the report should have covered. For instance:

  • Are these pre-installed on the OS as part of deals with handset makers or phone companies?
  • What some money involved to get these pre-installed if they were pre-installed?
  • What percentage of these were downloaded by end customers?
  • How many Google Assistant speaker-type devices has the company sold and not just given away as part of some promotion?
  • What is the number of daily active users of the Google Assistant?
  • How is the daily usage trending? Any data? Claiming global active users have grown four times over past one year is utterly meaningless!
  • What countries is the Assitant popular in?
  • And is it GDPR compliant?
  • How does it correlate with Google’s current business model of placing advertising against search results?

In other words, without the relevant context, Google’s claim is no better than old fashion bullshit. For whatever its worth, I find Google Assistant is very good at understanding my accent than Alexa and Siri. They are also much more accurate than those two. Unfortunately, I don’t trust Google to let them into my apartment on a device.

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