1 (edited by Orko 2018-06-25 14:37:11)

When I first created this thread, it was about my decision to abandon Alexa and the Echo. But after commenting that I was also considering abandoning Amazon in favor of a new marketplace designed specifically for the visually impaired, the thread has become a discussion about that, so I'm changing it's title.

But I'll leave my original opening mmessage.

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Well, after fussing with it for a year and seeing no real effort from Amazon to improve it, I am abandoning the Echo and Alexa.

Besides its frequently bad voice recognition, it has many other problems that have been there for most of the year that Amazon doesn't seem at all inclined to fix.

I have heard a lot of good about the Google Home, so I am switching to that.

Bye, bye, Alexa, don't let the door hit you on the backside as you leave!

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rofl I couldn't be bothered with it.  My wife and I got a dot for Christmas and used it, um, a total of 2 times.  Honestly, there just isn't enough to do to justify my keeping it.  Google's platform does indeed sound quite impressive.

I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.

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If you're interested, I can comment on my experiences with it, once it arrives.

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I'd appreciate that.  Having had a google account for quite some time and one droid in the past couple of years, it would be nice to se how things progres on your end.

I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.

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I am currently satisfied with Alexa. Anything is an improvement over Siri.

You can't connect the dots looking forward.  You can only connect them looking backwards.

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@stevejobs I agree, sort of. Anything is better than siri, yes, but I'd say Alexa is just barely ahead of it. This, of course, is my opinion, feel free to disagree. I happen to like my google home mini a lot more.

If anyone wants to add me on Skype, it's garrett.brown2014.

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I respect that. If I had my vision, I wouldn't use Apple products at all anymore.

You can't connect the dots looking forward.  You can only connect them looking backwards.

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Hi.
I don't get your problems people, Alexa is working fine, voice recognition is also quite nice, I hadn't had one missed command or anything like that till I have it, a bit under a year now.
It does what it is supposed to do, play music over my sound system, give me weather forcast's, check local transit and so on, I don't get why so many people on here have problems with that.
Greetings Moritz.

Hömma, willze watt von mir oder wie, weil wenn nich, dann lass dir mal sagen, laber mir kein Kottlett anne Wange und hömma, wo wir gerade dabei sind, dann iss hier hängen im Schacht, sonns klapp ich dir hier die Fingernägel auf links, datt kannze mir mal glaubn.

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"many problems"? like?
I've not heard any complaints on echo's voice recognition, but then again I don't own any so i can't  come up here and defend it.
But the thing is, If you want to have alexa in your home, the best way is to have more than one echo dots. There are so many good reviews on the echo dot compared to the echo itself.  Specially its sound quality.
Google and amazon are in a tight battle for smart speakers, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both of theirs.
for example if you question google in google's website itself, at the top of it you will get a short answer smartly extracted  out of a page that has the more visits and all. that surely  helps google's smart speaker because whatever you ask it it's going to answer you properly because it's using the google search engine.
But alexa doesn't have that. instead it has a lot of good skills that i'm looking to use. and, by having  echo dots positioned correctly in your house, you can have a great smart home and music experience because even you connect the dots to a good sounding speaker you're going to have a lot of fun, and they wouldn't have trouble in hearing you either while the music is playing
Also this article is worth to be pointed at:
https://tech.slashdot.org/story/18/03/1 … everything
: amazon-is-hiring-more-developers-for-alexa-than-google-is-hiring-for-everything. Alexa's future is bright, in my opinion.

That said, I'm not going to get any echos. I'm getting a pare of  sonos one, and I get to get the best of both world, when sonos implements google assistant alongside of alexa, so you could change between them whenever you like.

John Petrucci Fan all the time.
twitter: @hadirezae3
skype ID: hadi.gsf7

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Go team Google home
Got mine a couple months ago
& hooked it up to my led lights & my google audio cast in every room enjoying it

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Hi.
There is a special construction for the echo dot. in a nutshell, it's basically a charging station and an external speaker. You put the dot in at the top, connect the micro USB and the 3.5 MM cable and you have a portable echo with a good sounding speaker and a bit of batterie life, at leased over here that thing is priced at about 60 Euros, so almost the same as an echo dot.
Greetings Moritz.

Hömma, willze watt von mir oder wie, weil wenn nich, dann lass dir mal sagen, laber mir kein Kottlett anne Wange und hömma, wo wir gerade dabei sind, dann iss hier hängen im Schacht, sonns klapp ich dir hier die Fingernägel auf links, datt kannze mir mal glaubn.

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Maybe voice recognition isn't the right word, some examples of what frequently happens.

I ask Alexa to play the Trine soundtrack which is in Amazon's library, and I get things like For Crying Out Loud, or something else other than what I asked for. I try adding the artist so I'm asking for Trine soundtrack by Ari Pulkkinen and Alexa reports that it can't find it, yet there it is, in Amazon's digital library and it even says that you can stream it on the Echo. Nope! No matter what I do or how carefully I enunciate the words, Alexa simply refuses to find it or play the right thing.

Or I'll ask Alexa to play WSMR, a local radio station, from Tune In, and it plays WMOR instead.

And then there's the features that don't work properly. One of them is the ability to have Alexa notify you when an order is out for delivery or has been delivered. Numerous times I've had Alexa tell me an order will be delivered today when it is still days away, or tell me that an order has been delivered when no package has arrived. This make the notifications practically worthless, so I turned them off.

And that's just some of the many problems I've had with the Alexa service.

And the iOS Alexa companion app, needed to set up the Echo's, it has constant problems with buttons and controls that don't work when Voice Over is turned on, and it must be pretty bad without it too, because it has only a 1.5 out of 5 star rating in the app store, the last time I looked, plus I've heard the Android version isn't much better.

If hadi's remark that Amazon is hiring more developers than Google is right, it wouldn't surprise me one bit, if the quality of Alexa and the companion app are any indication, Amazon desperately needs those developers, let's just hope that these new developers are better than the ones they already have or it's just going to be more of the same crap from them. Google on the other hand has been a development company from day one, so they already have a ton of developers in their employ and don't need as many as Amazon apparently does.

Simba, you're from Europe, ever listen to a European voice compared to an American voice? You Europeans enunciate your words differently than we Americans do, and for voice recognition that can make a very big difference. I'm actually surprised that you didn't realize or consider that.

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Hi.
Well, I didn't ignore that, and that's the reason why I actually asked an American Friend of mine who lives here to try out Alexa  and challenge her with playing different songs, albums or artists, we haven't tried radio stations yet.
For clarification, personally, I don't have a heavy German accent anyway, I wouldn't be considered American, I am still going there xD, but people mostly don#t think I am German when I am speaking to them, and to be honest, I am quite happy about that.
But, that aside, we noticed that the English Alexa, at leased for the US one, often misses more results than the German one. I have both echos here, one beeing the english one and the other the German one I use when I am not at my home.
We tried your example with the Trine soundtrack.
With the English one, we couldn't get it working, we always had things like throne, trying and so on, with the German one it worked after the second time, possibly because there are not many German words sounding like the word trine.
But, as a positive for the English echo, the voice sometimes sounds better than the German one still, even though it made some progress over the months.
Greetings Moritz.

Hömma, willze watt von mir oder wie, weil wenn nich, dann lass dir mal sagen, laber mir kein Kottlett anne Wange und hömma, wo wir gerade dabei sind, dann iss hier hängen im Schacht, sonns klapp ich dir hier die Fingernägel auf links, datt kannze mir mal glaubn.

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@simba @hadi.gsf Friend: What time is it?
Me: It's, uh...
Alexa: Listening chime.
Me: Shut up!
Alexa: Recognized chime then abruptly shuts up as requested.
Here's another example.
Me: Alexa, spell artistic.
Alexa: Artistic is spelled, a, r, t, i, s, t, i, c.
Me: Alexa, spell autistic.
Alexa: Artistic is spelled, a, r, t, i, s, t, i, c.
Me: OK Google, spell artistic.
Google Home Mini: Artistic is spelled, a, r, t, i, s, t, i, c.
Me: OK Google, spell autistic.
Google Home Mini: Autistic is spelled, a, u, t, i, s, t, i, c.
Need I say anymore?

If anyone wants to add me on Skype, it's garrett.brown2014.

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I will say I do appreciate the issue with music, the amount of times we ask alexa to play something we've already bought and get something random instead, or get asked to by amazong music unlimited, this is also why I am not bothering with music on the echo dot as anything more than a mild occasional amusement.

that being said, the games and skills it has are still rather fun, and its handy for notifications etc, actually we mostly just use it to play trivia games, set alarms  or the like which it does very well.

In terms of the ap though, I will say I got a huge amount of difference using the website as opposed to the Ios Ap, since for some craaaazy reason it just doesn't play nice with voiceover.

So while I won't be throwing mine out any time soon (too much like playing question of the day with mrs. Dark), I probably won't be  expanding with more amazon devices or services in the near future.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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On kind of a side note, I am actually preparing to abandon Amazon in favor of a new marketplace designed specifically for the VIP community. Amazon is one of the 40 stores they currently have in the marketplace and they are adding more stores all the time. The one downside is that if you are a Prime member, Amazon won't let you use your Prime benefits through the marketplace, so I am canceling my Prime membership. I'll agree that free two day shipping is nice, but it's not essential, what is, is a shopping experience that is blind user friendly, and that is something that Amazon is not, despite their claims of how important accessibility is to them. Like some other companies I could name but won't, Amazon is using accessibility as nothing but a marketing strategy, all Amazon cares about is selling you stuff.

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By the way for anyone interested, that marketplace is called paywithchip.com. It's an accessible storefront that provides consistent menu-based access to many different stores, Walmart, Amazon, Bestbuy, you name it. The searching of items, browsing the list/finding descriptions and prices, and purchasing the items in question is completely accessible and takes a fraction of the time it would to navigate around, I'll say Walmart's site because I've actually had it worse there than I have Amazon's site. And it's using the supermarket api so it's not like there are any preset lists of items you're getting or anything of the sort, this is the real deal. The nice part about the Pay with Chip marketplace is that it is more secure. Rather than having you type in your card every time, or having the computer remember your card info, you use a usb cardreader to scan your card, note that this only works for chip cards, not magnetic strips. And as of right now the marketplace is completely free.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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Echo plays propaganda grandma way to often. I prefer the voice solution, that no matter who runs the radio I want to tune to, that it works every time. Google is winning currently, but their infrastructure sucks because you have to buy two things, or spend $300 to get headphone out through it. Like with life, you have to pick your battles. I prefer Google ATM, though I stopped using any voice assistants myself accept for Siri. I agree with everyone's assertions in this thread. Amazon is slightly better than Siri, but Google is 50% better, but it has a horrible microphone , at least on the mini for voice calls.

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Regarding my Alexa use, I will agree that it is more problematic than google home. The problem I've seen is that you really have to speak commands word for word, the natural language processing is much farther behind. Plus, google play now has audiobooks, so that's one less thing Amazon has going for it. As a side-note, I am talking with HUmanware about possibly putting .exo decryption and playback support into the Victor Reader Trek so it can play the google play audiobooks. The Trek just so happens to run android as I discovered, so it definitely has the technical means necessary to play the content. But I digress. My point is that the Google Home is much more conversational in a natural way. Someone actually made a comparison I agree with, the Echo is like a commandline interface while the google home is a kin to a gui. And can I also point out that Amazon is anything but prompt when it comes to server breaches/outages? The Alexa was out for, what, a few days? And then the next day either it got hacked, or some wiseass must've been having too much fun and decided to trigger the infamous laughing that scared many users. I was around for a Google Home server outage that only lasted about 10 minutes. Not only that, Google was in communication with me on Twitter about the fact that it was an outage and that they're on top of it. So if we want to talk better service than Amazon, there's your proof.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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Brandon, any chance you could've gotten a defected unit? My mic is apparently not that bad for calls, and as long as the line is quiet it hears dtmf tones pretty clearly.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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Space is another consideration. Both the Google Home and the Google Home Mini are too big for both my taste and my room. Besides, I don't want to speak to a donut. smile

You can't connect the dots looking forward.  You can only connect them looking backwards.

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I for one have had no problems with Alexa. The echo dot is an awesome alarm clock or something just to listen to when you're chilling out.  I love telling it to grab something off of tunein and fall asleep to that. Or have it grab like water sounds or something.

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I decided to go whole hog and bought a Google Home Max and am getting a Mini as a free bundle with the Max. The Max will go in my living room and the Mini in my bedroom. I have no plans to use either for making calls, I'll use them as I did the Echo as assistants and to stream music and to play games, if any are available. And for what it's worth, of the two colors available, chalk and charcoal, otherwise known as black and white, I chose charcoal or black.

Oh yeah, that's another gripe I forgot about Alexa, their servers seem to go down at least once a month and when they go down, you may as well unplug the Echo for the rest of the day.

Amazon has a buy back program, if they are offering to buy the Echo, that's where mine will be going.

And Jack guessed it, the marketplace I was talking about is the PayWithChip marketplace. The primary reason I didn't mention the name was because it is currently only available in the states, though the CEO, whom I've had many interesting conversations with, says they'd like to be able to offer the marketplace to other regions, with your location determining what stores are available to you.

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jack wrote:

Brandon, any chance you could've gotten a defected unit? My mic is apparently not that bad for calls, and as long as the line is quiet it hears dtmf tones pretty clearly.

It is possible. The issue I see is that there is a lot of noise from the microphone itself. The echo dot's setup sounds close to landline compared to the google mini's voip sounding situation, for someone on the other end of a phone call.

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Orko wrote:

Maybe voice recognition isn't the right word, some examples of what frequently happens.

I ask Alexa to play the Trine soundtrack which is in Amazon's library, and I get things like For Crying Out Loud, or something else other than what I asked for. I try adding the artist so I'm asking for Trine soundtrack by Ari Pulkkinen and Alexa reports that it can't find it, yet there it is, in Amazon's digital library and it even says that you can stream it on the Echo. Nope! No matter what I do or how carefully I enunciate the words, Alexa simply refuses to find it or play the right thing.

Or I'll ask Alexa to play WSMR, a local radio station, from Tune In, and it plays WMOR instead.

And then there's the features that don't work properly. One of them is the ability to have Alexa notify you when an order is out for delivery or has been delivered. Numerous times I've had Alexa tell me an order will be delivered today when it is still days away, or tell me that an order has been delivered when no package has arrived. This make the notifications practically worthless, so I turned them off.

And that's just some of the many problems I've had with the Alexa service.

And the iOS Alexa companion app, needed to set up the Echo's, it has constant problems with buttons and controls that don't work when Voice Over is turned on, and it must be pretty bad without it too, because it has only a 1.5 out of 5 star rating in the app store, the last time I looked, plus I've heard the Android version isn't much better.

If hadi's remark that Amazon is hiring more developers than Google is right, it wouldn't surprise me one bit, if the quality of Alexa and the companion app are any indication, Amazon desperately needs those developers, let's just hope that these new developers are better than the ones they already have or it's just going to be more of the same crap from them. Google on the other hand has been a development company from day one, so they already have a ton of developers in their employ and don't need as many as Amazon apparently does.

Simba, you're from Europe, ever listen to a European voice compared to an American voice? You Europeans enunciate your words differently than we Americans do, and for voice recognition that can make a very big difference. I'm actually surprised that you didn't realize or consider that.

That's a pretty good post compared to the first one you made, I was looking for such exact thing. e.g. in what ways has alexa failed  you.
Let us know how your experience is with the google speakers once you get them, I'm curious to know that as well.

John Petrucci Fan all the time.
twitter: @hadirezae3
skype ID: hadi.gsf7

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