Amazon releases Echo

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HOUSTON, Texas - Do you ever feel like "Siri" isn't listening anymore? Maybe that initial excitement and connection you felt with her has slowly turned into resentment and contempt.

Well, there's a new virtual girl in town and the word on the street is she's a great listener.

Meet "Alexa", a new feaute on the Amazon Echo. It's a bluetooth speaker with a "Siri"-like talk-back function that can help you stream music, check the weather, shop, and even talk without hassling you to take out the garbage or ask for directions.

Amazon is touting the gadget as a personal assistant crammed into a tiny speaker, but critics of the device point out that Amazon Ehco's main function seems to care more about funneling you to its online store, than tending to your personal needs.

An even greater concern for some was the seven "always on" microphones that make Alexa such a great listener. Connected to wi-fi and designed to make sure Alexa can hear everything that's said in your living room, office, or even bedroom.

We asked some Houston residents what they thought about this new device.

"It just seems very impractal for me personally, it just sounds stupid"
"The Echo, at this point in time seems to be a useless tool to have in your home, i dont really need to do anything by voice command"
"I dont think it would change my day to day life that much, besides making me very uncomfortable."
"I guess it would be useful if it could do my homework for me"
"Maybe if it did my dishes, or things that I dont enjoy doing... but as of now it seems pointless"

We also asked them what they thought about the "always on" mics?

"Yeah, i mean it could record anything... maybe something intimate you know what im sayin?
"My biggest fear is that the computers will become self aware, and decide the best thing to do is eliminate human life"
"I can very easily stream music without 7 live microphones in my house, so I'm not very interested."

So, maybe the Echo needs a little fine tuning before it can aassist you with anything practical, or be there for you in your time of need, but in the meantime, if you are seeking companionship, but not crazy about the idea of buying expensive dinners or bathing everyday, then Alexa may just be the girl of your dreams.




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