3 reflections on the Echo Dot and Alexa

We recently received an Echo Dot as a gift. We tend to take a wait-and-see approach with most new technology and this was no different. 3 reflections from the first 3 weeks –

First up, our biggest use case is music – specifically children’s music. While we set the occasional reminder, Alexa and Amazon Music (free with Prime) have been an amazing add to the family. Amazon Music’s collection of children’s songs by the likes of Lisa Loeb and Caspar Babypants (the Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran equivalents for adults) is fantastic. And, it is much easier to request music by voice than fumble with a phone or an iPad while carrying a kid.

Amazon’s free music collection is also impressive. While we occasionally stumble upon a song that isn’t available, their radio stations / playlists are top notch for English music.

Second, Amazon delivers on value for money at the $30 price point. For most people, the Echo Dot might just replace the need for a speaker. I’ve written plenty about Amazon’s lead in the battle for the home – this experience has been further validation of the strength of their offering.

Third, I find it fascinating that Alexa and Google Home only offer a better manners option as part of parental controls. Why is it that we consider better manners only for the purpose of teaching kids?

From my experience, I have become more polite in the process of requesting our 2 year old to be more polite. I’d argue adults need this as much as kids do.

Perhaps the teams could consider a requirement for all users? At least one “please” for every 3 requests?

Overall, a fascinating device and one that has definitely added value.

PS: There is, of course, the downside of having a device over hear conversations. The party line from Amazon is that Alexa only hears things when she’s summoned. I am reluctant to buy that and have gone in with the assumption that anything within Alexa’s hearing range is sent to Amazon. As things stand with our experiment now, that’s a trade-off we’re willing to live with.