Trending February 2024 # Bloomberg: Thousands Of Amazon Employees Are Listening To Echo Voice Recordings # Suggested March 2024 # Top 11 Popular

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Amazon has thousands of employees listen to Echo audio clips as part of improving Alexa’s machine learning so that the personal assistant could better respond to voice commands.

These people are listening to what some Alexa owners tell the assistant, reviewing, transcribing and annotating audio recordings to help train Alexa’s machine learning model.

Bloomberg has the story:

The work is mostly mundane. One worker in Boston said he mined accumulated voice data for specific utterances such as ‘Taylor Swift’ and annotated them to indicate the searcher meant the musical artist.

So far so good, but…

Occasionally the listeners pick up things Echo owners likely would rather stay private: a woman singing badly off key in the shower, say, or a child screaming for help. The teams use internal chat rooms to share files when they need help parsing a muddled word—or come across an amusing recording.

I get sharing a customer’s audio recording with a fellow worker for the purposes of getting the job done. But sharing an audio clip with a colleague just because the user might have happened to say something funny or stupid feels totally wrong and unprofessional to me.

Sometimes they hear recordings they find upsetting, or possibly criminal. Two of the workers said they picked up what they believe was a sexual assault. When something like that happens, they may share the experience in the internal chat room as a way of relieving stress.

While Amazon has a process in place for its workers to follow whenever they hear something distressing, some employees were rebuffed in no uncertain terms with the explanation that it wasn’t Amazon’s job to interfere.

For those concerned about privacy, the report claims that people on this team are listening to only some of the voice recordings that were captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices.

We take the security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously. We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order to improve the customer experience.

For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone.

Sudio files are stripped of identifiable information like a user’s full name and address. That being said, Amazon could’ve been more transparent with its data collection:

The Alexa voice review process, described by seven people who have worked on the program, highlights the often-overlooked human role in training software algorithms. In marketing materials Amazon says Alexa ‘lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter.’ But like many software tools built to learn from experience, humans are doing some of the teaching.

Users can adjust settings to stop Amazon from using their voice recordings to improve Alexa.

The online retail giant acknowledges that Alexa requests are being used “to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems,” but this is buried in a list of frequently asked questions on their website. No matter how you look at it, contextual voice recognition is a tough nut to crack but machine learning promises to be the right solution. The problem is, machine learning models must be trained.

Amazon has teams of people labeling and categorizing Alexa voice queries

For instance, Apple has trained Face ID with more than a billion photographs of people’s faces. As for speech recognition, achieving high accuracy does require large amounts of labeled data.

That’s why launching Siri in a new language isn’t possible without having enough data to train the acoustic models, and that data has to come from real people performing real voice queries. The only difference between Amazon and Apple is that the former has humans listening to some of those recordings while the latter, presumable, does not.

Now that you know that Amazon has a global team listening to Alexa audio clips, are your more or less likely to continue using Echo products?

You're reading Bloomberg: Thousands Of Amazon Employees Are Listening To Echo Voice Recordings

How To Listen, Delete, And Ask Amazon Not To Save Your Alexa Voice Recordings

Echo is a series of smart voice assistant devices by Amazon. You can review and listen to voice commands given to Alexa on your Amazon Echo, inside the Alexa app, and any other device with Alexa built in. From here, you can delete the voice recordings individually or in bulk. The settings also allow you to stop saving your Echo recordings. Finally, you can even ask Amazon to no longer use your Alexa voice recordings for evaluation and training purposes. This’ll ensure no human hired by Amazon listens to them. In this guide, we show you how to do all these using the Alexa app on your iPhone, iPad, Android, and the Amazon website in a browser on Mac or PC.

Is Amazon Echo in my home always listening?

Technically, yes. The Echo microphones are always on so that it can respond when you say the “Alexa” or “Hey Alexa” hot word. Therefore, in a sense, these devices are always listening but jump in action only after they hear (or think they heard) the hot word.

Interesting info: When you go through and listen to your saved Alexa voice recordings (steps below), like me, you may be surprised to hear some random thud, door slams, and such. Echo thought these to be relevant command words and recorded them falsely.

What Amazon does with your saved Alexa voice recordings

Over the years, popular voice assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa have improved significantly. And all this is thanks to training the algorithms using tons of voice data from users like you and me.

Amazon uses your voice recordings to train and improve the voice assistant. The Alexa audio clips are also used to personalize your experience and make them more accurate and meaningful.

However, on the privacy front, things are scary. This is because Amazon employees and third-party contractors can listen to your Echo voice recordings. Now, if someone is listening to me asking Alexa, “Play Love the Way You Lie by Eminem,” this isn’t too much of a concern. But there have been reports of these voice reviewers even getting customers’ addresses and more personal data based on these recordings. This is creepy and upsetting.

Does Alexa process my requests locally?

No. All the Alexa requests you give to your Echo device are uploaded and processed on Amazon servers. The Echo is a simple speaker with the functionality to send your speech data to Amazon servers and tell you the processed answer it receives from there. To date, Echo devices don’t have powerful chips or intelligence to process your requests locally.

Must check-out: List of offline Siri commands that work without an internet connection on iPhone and iPad

Why you might want to delete your Alexa voice recordings

For privacy reasons, if you don’t want Amazon and its third-party contractors to hear what you said, you may want to delete your Alexa requests.

Secondly, suppose several family members use the common Echo device, and you said something weird, inappropriate, or requested some embarrassing answer. In that case, you may want to delete this to rule out the possibility of someone in the family seeing or hearing this request.

Related: How to use the Alexa app for your alarms, reminders, and timers

How to see and listen to every voice recording Alexa made of you

Using these steps, you can easily view the list of your Alexa voice recordings and listen to them. Let us see how to do that on your smartphone or web browser.

On iPhone, iPad, and Android phone

Here’s how to listen to your Echo recordings in the Alexa iOS or Android app.

Open the Amazon Alexa app and tap More.

Tap Today, All devices to filter by date or device.

Now, tap the tiny arrow for an individual card.

Tap the blue play button to hear your Alexa command.

From here, you can also share feedback by using the thumbs up or down buttons. If the app hangs and takes time to expand the card, force quit other apps on your iPhone and keep the Amazon Alexa app open. Also, make sure to update this app. In case nothing helps, restart your iPhone.

On Computer

Here’s how to hear what you said to Alexa using a browser on your Mac or PC.

Log in to your Amazon account and hover the mouse pointer on your name.

How to delete saved Alexa voice recordings

You can clear the saved Alexa voice commands straight from your Amazon Echo device, the Alexa smartphone app, or a web browser. Here’s how.

Delete straight from Amazon Echo

You or anyone with access to your Echo can delete what’s said to Alexa by giving it a voice command. By default, this feature is turned off. Follow these steps to enable it. After that, you can say, “Alexa, delete what I just said” or “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” and it’ll do that.

Here’s how to set Alexa to delete voice recordings by asking.

Open the Amazon Alexa app on your phone and tap More.

Turn on the switch for Enable deletion by voice and tap Confirm.

After this, if you say, “Alexa, delete what I just said,” it’ll do that and reply, “I have deleted any recordings from the last ten minutes.”

Fun fact: It’ll also delete the command where you say, “Alexa, delete what I just said.”

As of now, you are limited to deleting commands from the last ten minutes or the day. Hopefully, Amazon may allow deleting all recordings straight from the Echo in the future. But currently, that isn’t there. So, you can use your phone or computer to do that (explained later in this article).

Delete using the Alexa app on iPhone, iPad, and Android

Above we saw how to listen to your Alexa voice recordings. Just below the play button, you see the option to delete the voice command. Here’s a recap of the steps.

Tap the tiny arrow for the desired voice command.

Now, tap Delete recording to erase this Alexa voice command from the history.

After this, it should say Delete all recordings from the last 7 days, 30 days, Delete all of my recordings, and such.

Note: In my experience, sometimes if you choose any time above 7 days, it shows an error. My app is updated. But still, this happens.

Delete using a web browser on Mac or PC

The steps are the same as above. Let me tell you again.

How to automatically delete all your saved Alexa voice recordings now or after a specific time

In the above steps, you saw how to choose and delete specific Alexa voice commands. You also saw how to clear all recordings from the last ten minutes, the day, 7 days, and such.

In this section, let’s see how to delete all Alexa voice recordings now, or delete them automatically after a few months.

On iPhone, iPad, and Android

Here’s how to delete all Alexa voice recordings from your phone.

Open the Amazon Alexa app and tap More.

Tap Settings.

Tap Alexa Privacy.

From here, tap Manage Your Alexa Data.

Tap the arrow for Choose how long to save recordings.

Notes: After you delete your recordings, your Alexa experience may degrade. Amazon systems may take up to 36 hours to apply the “Don’t save recordings” settings.

On Computer

Here’s how to use a web browser to delete everything you have ever said to Alexa.

Note: On the web, if you cannot see the “Do not save recordings” option, try turning off “Enable deletion by voice.”

How to stop your Echo device from listening

On the top of your Amazon Echo, you will see a button with the symbol that looks like a circle (or mic) slashed by a diagonal line. Press this button to disable the microphones on your Amazon Alexa. When mics are off, the button and the light ring appear red. During this, even if you say the “Alexa” hot word, it does not respond.

How to stop Amazon from listening and using your Alexa voice recordings

By default, Amazon uses and reviews what you say to Alexa. With the help of these steps, you can ask Amazon not to use your Alexa voice recordings for training purposes. Doing this also means asking their employees or assigned third-party human contractors not to manually hear your voice clips for review.

Here’s how to withdraw your consent and ask Amazon not to use your Alexa voice recordings.

Open the Alexa app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android, and tap More.

Scroll down and turn off the switch for Help improve Alexa, Use of voice recordings.

You can also do this from a web browser on Mac or PC.

This is how you can delete your saved voice recordings and stop them from being used or listened to by people at Amazon.

One important thing to note is even after deleting all voice recordings, Amazon can still keep some information. Plus, after receiving a response from Amazon VP of Public Policy Brian Huseman, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said that “Amazon’s response leaves open the possibility that transcripts of user voice interactions with Alexa are not deleted from all of Amazon’s servers, even after a user has deleted a recording of his or her voice.”

More Alexa related posts for you:

How Private Is Amazon Echo?

How private is Amazon Echo?

Put a microphone in your product, and someone is going to assume you’re listening to them. That’s one of the challenges Amazon Echo – the online retailer’s “Siri in a totem pole” – faces, with suspicion about just how much Jeff Bezos & Co. (or his algorithms, at least) are actually eavesdropping on. Given the power of Amazon’s recommendation engines and the amount of data it gathers just from casual browsing, you can certainly see where some of the paranoia might come from, too. A microphone-mute button takes pride of place on top of Echo, but will it be enough to persuade potential users that the virtual assistant is working for them and not for Amazon itself? I went hunting for some answers on just what Echo shares and how you can tame it.

Amazon bills Echo as your family’s friend: answering the kid’s questions while they do their homework, and keeping a running shopping list for the parents without making them reach for a pen in the kitchen. The concern, though, is just how much listening Echo is doing.

As soon as the product was revealed, in a quiet pre-registration launch on Thursday this week, critics were already making semi-serious jokes about how sensible it would be to pay Amazon for the privilege of bringing Echo into your home.

Echo’s technology aims to look like magic to users, but it’s actually built on top of several acquisitions Amazon has made over the past few years. Back in late 2011, for instance, the retailer bought Yap, a voice-to-text and speech recognition company that at the time was offering services like voicemail transcription.

In 2013, meanwhile, Amazon bought both Evi – a Siri-style app which had already been pulled from the iPhone’s App Store for apparently being too close to Apple’s own functionality, though was later restored – and IVONA Software, a text-to-speech specialist.

IVONA was already providing the tech which powered the Kindle Fire’s ability to read out text on-screen, part of its “Explore by Touch” feature among others.

Some of those talents have already been implemented in Amazon Dash, a barcode-scanning wand that can also be instructed by voice as to what you want to buy through the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service. Dash’s voice recognition is triggered by a button, rather than the always-listening feature on Echo.

Exactly what Echo is listening to, though, has led to some confusion. Just as with the Moto X, “always on” actually means “always listening for a specific command.” In Echo’s case, that’s either “Alexa” or “Amazon”, either of which will wake the column up and start it monitoring for more complex instructions.

Over time, Amazon tells me, Echo will support more wake-commands, though it’s uncertain whether there’ll be support for user-customizable commands as Motorola added in the 2014 version of its phone.

What you also get is a physical microphone mute button on the top. Pressing that shuts off even the trigger word system and, in theory, stops Echo from listening to you at all.

Of course, whether people will actually walk all the way over to wherever Echo is plugged in and press that button is questionable. The device’s seven microphone array and beam-forming technology is designed to listen to you wherever you are in the room, which suggests Echo can hear clearly from a lot further away than the length of most peoples’ arms.

A spoken command to mute the microphone – which would require physically re-enabling it afterwards, though even when muted you can still trigger with the voice button on the bundled Echo remote, Amazon pointed out to me. - could be a useful addition. Amazon will be able to remotely upgrade Echo with new features, as well as add voice-controlled services in the cloud.

As with other voice recognition systems, Amazon relies on recordings to improve the quality of its algorithms. While there’s an optional Voice Training system in the Amazon Echo App, the wireless speaker will do run its own learning process in the background, too.

“When you use the wake word to talk to Amazon Echo, the audio stream includes a few seconds of audio before the wake word, and closes once Amazon Echo has processed your question or request,” Amazon told me. There’s also an optional “wake up sound,” the company said, effectively a short tone that indicates Echo is streaming audio to the cloud.

A similar “end of request” tone can be activated, too, to flag when Echo has stopped streaming.

There’ll also be access to all of those recordings if you log into Amazon’s browser-based dashboard. Interactions are grouped by question or request, Amazon says, and you can not only listen to the clip but send feedback about how well it was processed.

Individual clips can be deleted, or the entire history wiped out, though Echo’s accuracy will take a dive back to out-of-the-box condition if you do so.

Nonetheless, Amazon is still doing a little extra homework in the background as a shortcut to knowing you better. Things like your music playlists are automatically processed by Echo’s voice services, “to improve response time and accuracy”; similarly, Amazon reserves the right to share your music titles, radio stations, and zip code with “third party services”, though doesn’t confirm who they might be.

In the end, how much you trust Echo comes down to a more wide-ranging question about how you trust the cloud. On the one hand, there have been enough data leaks and privacy goofs over the past twelve months to make you understandably wary of what’s going on with the servers of other; on the other, if you want the convenience features, cloud processing is still the most efficient and flexible way of doing it.

A minor software tweak could certainly improve Echo’s usability in getting a temporary respite from its eavesdropping, and it’s not something that would be too tricky for Amazon to implement. Still, for the truly privacy-concerned, any sort of microphone – no matter how many buttons to turn them off they have – is going to be a no-go area on a device.

7 Best Amazon Echo Cases And Covers

Amazon Echo, the voice controlled, AI powered personal assistant and home automation device, is certainly a futuristic piece of technology. It can stream music and podcasts, provide real-time news updates, make to-do lists, control other devices, and do a lot more, all with voice commands. Now, generally, Amazon Echo sits in a fixed place, constantly listening for voice commands. But there might be times when you need to take the device with you. And for that, you need a carry case.

1. Fintie Protective Case for Amazon Echo

One of the best cases available for Amazon Echo, the Fintie Protective Case is a must have accessory. It’s made up of premium synthetic leather, lined up on the inside with soft, non-scratch microfiber material. Furthermore, the cover has speaker vents made with nylon fabric, that doesn’t hinder the audio output. The removable carrying strap design lets you use the case both for carrying Amazon Echo, as well as use it perfectly while it’s sat down. And what’s life without a little variety? The Fintie Protective Case is available in over 15 funky colors and designs, so you can be sure of finding one that suits your taste.

2. ACdream Premium PU Leather Sleeve

True to its name, the ACdream Premium PU Leather Sleeve is a premium case that fits your Amazon Echo like a second skin. The cover’s exterior is made up of Polyurethane (PU) leather, while the soft interior protects the device from scratches and abrasions. There are precise cuts for all features and controls, and Amazon Echo can be perfectly used with the cover. Want to carry the device with you? Just hook up the provided strap, and you’re good to go. The ACdream Premium PU Leather Sleeve comes in 6 different colors (e.g. Crocodile Brown). Oh, and did we mention that it’s backed by a lifetime warranty?

Price: $17.59, regardless of color chosen

3. co2CREA Travel Carrying Case for Amazon Echo

It may not be heavy on the bling factor, but the co2CREA Travel Carrying Case is great for securely hauling the Amazon Echo anywhere. The case is made up of two semi-cylindrical halves, both lined up on the inside with soft, cushiony EVA padding. The cover snugly closes around the device by means of a zip fastener, and has a taut handle for easy portability. But what’s best about the co2CREA Travel Carrying Case is that it also has a separated chamber, that you can use to carry the Amazon Echo’s power adapter, along with the device itself.

Price: $19.99

4. Bluetech Premium Hard Travel Case for Amazon Echo

Want a rugged solution for lugging your Amazon Echo everywhere? Look no further than Bluetech Premium Hard Travel Case. It’s made from a 5 mm thick durable EVA based material that’s not only shock-resistant, but looks good as well. The molded inner side is built from a felt material, and has separate compartments for both the Amazon Echo and its power adapter. Moreover, the case’s carrying handle is reinforced with rubber for a stronger grip. Other than the usual Black, the Bluetech Premium Hard Travel Case is also available in Pink and Green.

Price: $34.99

5. Lightning Power Lycra Zipper Carrying Case for Amazon Echo

Price: $11.88

6. Octobermoon Soft Case for Amazon Echo

Offering reliable protection without adding any heft, the Octobermoon Soft Case is a solidly built cover for the Amazon Echo. The case has a hollow cylindrical design, and you can just slide the Echo into it, and close the zipped cover. It’s made up of soft diving material, and is perfect if you intend on packing the Amazon Echo with other stuff in a bigger luggage bag. However, the Octobermoon Soft Case doesn’t include any space for carrying the device’s power adapter, so that’s a bit of a letdown. There are quite a few color choices available, such as Yellow and Blue.

7. Pushingbest Protective Bag for Amazon Echo

The Pushingbest Protective Bag offers a nice way of carrying Amazon Echo with you anywhere. It’s made up of Premium PU (Polyurethane) Leather, and has zipper openings on both sides for sliding the Amazon Echo in and out of it with ease. The fit offered by the case is quite good, and the mesh design is a nice added touch as well. Also, the base of the cover features a hole for passing through the power cable, so Echo can be plugged in while still being covered. That said, the cover does hamper the working of the device (at least a little) bit, and thus is best suited for carrying purposes only.

Price: $16.99 (White color); $21.99 (Black color)

SEE ALSO: Top 15 Amazon Echo Skins 

Carry Amazon Echo with you everywhere

Google Assistant Smart Displays Vs. Amazon Echo Show: What Are The Differences And Similarities

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was dominantly a battle between Amazon and Google for the most part, with the latter unveiling a bevy of new smart display devices in a move to take on the former’s smart speaker with a built-in screen announced in May last year. But the Mountain View, the California-based internet giant isn’t just settling with one smart display, but four, thanks to its partnership with Lenovo, Harman-owned JBL, LG, and Sony.

The alliance between those tech giants has given Google Assistant a new face literally, bringing the virtual assistant from your phone and from smart speakers to the bigger screen. The Lenovo Smart Display from the Chinese OEM, for example, is powered by Google’s voice-enabled personal assistant. The same is true with JBL’s Link View (8-inch and 10-inch variants), the LG ThinQ, and Sony’s as yet unnamed smart display.

Echo Show vs. Lenovo Smart Display vs. JBL Link View vs LG ThinQ

But how exactly do these Google Assistant-powered smart displays differ from the Echo Show? While details about the smart display offerings from Lenovo, JBL, and LG have been made already, no word yet about Sony’s bet. In this post, therefore, we’re limiting our comparison to the Echo Show, Lenovo Smart Display, JBL Link View, and LG ThinQ.

Design

In terms of design, the four smart displays we’ve seen so far vary slightly in a number of ways. Let’s discuss the dimensions first. The Echo Show measures 187 x 187 x 90mm while the Lenovo Smart Display has a dimension of 311.37 x 173.87 x 136.02mm for the 10-inch variant. The JBL Link View, on the other hand, measures 330 x 150 x 100mm, making it the biggest in the competition, thanks to its oval shape.

Speaking of shape, the Echo Show has a trapezoid shape on the back that helps the device lean backward. It has a square face as well, which the same to that of the Lenovo Smart Display. The LG ThinQ has a rectangular face, meanwhile.

Additionally, the speaker grilles on the Echo Show sit under the landscape display while those of the Lenovo Smart Display are found at the left corner of the screen. When considering which smart display to choose once they go on sale, keep in mind that the JBL Link View includes an IPX4 rating, so it has the upper hand over the others.

Display

When it comes to screen sizes, the Lenovo Smart Display comes in two variants as mentioned above, so there’s a couple of options for you, with the 10-inch variant sporting a full HD IPS display and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The 8-inch version has a slightly lower resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. On the other hand, the Echo Show sports a 7-inch touchscreen that you can use for a wide variety of voice-assisted tasks. It has a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.

The JBL Link View comes with an 8-inch high-definition touchscreen with a built-in camera and the LG ThinQ has the same screen size as JBL’s. However, resolutions of these smart displays are not immediately known at present, so it’s safe to assume that the Lenovo Smart Display is a better option if you wish to watch a video or sift through your photo album using voice command.

New Android Go phones to be available soon

Hardware

The Lenovo Smart Display is using Qualcomm’s new Home Hub Platform powered by Snapdragon 624 while the Echo Show is fueled by an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor. No word yet on what’s fueling the JBL Link View and the LG ThinQ, but Google recently confirmed that the latter is running on Qualcomm’s SD624 Home Hub Platform while Qualcomm previously announced that Harman is using its platform. Nonetheless, there’s really no telling what hardware performances better until all of the Smart Display contenders are subjected to actual testing.

Additionally, the JBL Link View includes a pair of 10W front-firing stereo speakers and is equipped with a rear passive radiator while the Lenovo Smart Display has a pair of 10W speakers with dual passive radiators. The LG ThinQ, on the other hand, has a pair of “Tuned by Meridian Audio” speakers flanking the device while the Echo Show boasts a pair of 2-inch stereo speakers in the front, promising a great sound experience overall. Guessing from the aforementioned specs, we expect the Echo Show to take the lead in this respect.

Software

At its core, the JBL Link View, Lenovo Smart Display, LG ThinQ and Sony use a modified version of Google Assistant, offering a new type of experience for a fresh type of screen with a simpler interface since it’s a whole lot different from the Google Assistant installed on your smartphone. However, the overall experience doesn’t vary much from that of Google Home or your Google Assistant-equipped smartphone, except that you can’t install Android apps to these smart displays since they’re not another Android device. Nonetheless, you can still use them to ask for directions from Google Maps displayed on the screen in addition to switching off your lights.

The Echo Show provides a basically similar experience. You can ask for calendar entries or a list of ingredients for your dinner using your voice and see them on a visual display. This is thanks to Alexa, which offers a full suite of features to let you control all sorts of smart home devices, play games, or listen to music, among others.

Upcoming Android Go phones

Verdict

The Echo Show has the lead over the other smart displays since it’s already out on the market for $229, though Google Assistant seems to be smarter than Alexa when accepting commands. Nonetheless, if you wish to get your hands on a smart display at an affordable price right now, Amazon’s bet is your only option, though that may change soon.

5 Benefits Of The Echo Flex Over Other Echo Products

By now, everyone knows about Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot, but a newer addition is the Echo Flex. Despite how the name sounds, it’s not some type of flexible cable or cord version. However, it’s a more convenient option for adding Alexa to your home or adding on to your current Echo setup.

What Is the Echo Flex?

Before diving into the benefits, you should know what this Echo device is. It’s a smaller device that plugs directly into an outlet. There aren’t any cables to deal with. Think of it as a nightlight, though it has much more functionality than just a light. It includes a speaker to let you talk directly with Alexa.

However, that is the one major con for the Flex. The speaker isn’t meant for music. While it’ll play music, it won’t sound great at all. You can connect it to another speaker via Bluetooth or by setting another preferred Echo speaker in your home for playing music.

1. Convenient to Add Almost Anywhere

Unlike the Echo and Echo Dot, the Echo Flex doesn’t require a shelf, table, or counter to sit on. This means you can add it to any outlet, even if there’s nothing around it. This makes it more convenient to add to your home exactly where you need it, such as in a hallway, bathroom, or any area where you just don’t have room to set a device.

2. Charge USB Devices

Since you’re giving up an outlet, the Flex comes complete with a USB port to easily charge your USB devices. Of course, if you’re charging devices, you may want to have a table nearby to lay your phone, tablet, or other device on while it charges.

3. Add Attachments

The Echo Flex’s USB port has a dual purpose – attachments. Customize your Flex by buying the add-ons you want most. At the time of writing, Amazon currently has three different attachments that can plug directly into the USB port:

Smart Clock – Set the brightness, use it to see your set timers in action, and switch between 12- and 24-hour formats.

Smart Night-Light

– Control the brightness, color, and when it turns on and off.

Motion Sensor – Trigger Alexa motion-activated routines.

All of these are available for $14.99 each. You can only use one at a time. However, you can customize each individual Flex, such as adding a night-light to a hallway or a clock to the kitchen.

4. Affordable

The Echo Flex is just $24.99, and as with most Echo products, Amazon regularly runs promos with cheaper prices. For instance, there was a $15 discount when you buy two promo at the time of writing. The Echo Dot is $49.99, though regular promos make it around the same price as the Flex, especially if you buy more than one.

5. No Cables to Deal With

If you hate trying to hide cables, it’s tricky to find the perfect place to add your Echo device. You have to make sure the cable’s long enough to reach or try to bunch up excess cable for shorter distances. With the Flex, there aren’t any cables to deal with at all. As an added bonus, if you have small kids or pets, there aren’t cables for them to mess with, and the Flex can cover an outlet, protecting curious little fingers.

Overall, the Echo Flex is a great addition to the Echo line. While it won’t make your music sound great, you can still hear Alexa clearly throughout a room. Plus, the convenience alone makes it a good way to expand Alexa through your home.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/ReferenceMan

Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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