Archive for the ‘amazon echo’ Category

Amazon Music Unlimited is growing faster than Apple Music or Spotify, report says

July 12th, 2019
An Amazon Echo smart speaker.

Enlarge / An Amazon Echo smart speaker. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Amazon grew its Music Unlimited streaming service by over 70 percent in the past year, according to data by Midia Research published by the Financial Times. The service currently has approximately 32 million subscribers. However, the report didn't clarify whether that includes trial subscriptions as well as paid ones.

Amazon Unlimited Music is still smaller than its biggest competitors. Apple services head Eddie Cue recently revealed that Apple Music has about 60 million subscribers. Spotify has more than 100 million. Google has offered a variety of streaming services via YouTube that it has shuttered, rebranded, and shuffled around, making it difficult to quantify the company's traction with music listeners. In any case, Amazon still has a lot of catching up to do.

Midia Research credits the rapid growth of Amazon Unlimited Music to the proliferation of Amazon Echo smart speakers and other devices with Alexa. While these devices can play music from other services like Spotify, they default to Amazon services in many cases. For example, if you ask Alexa to play David Bowie's "Heroes" on a Sonos One speaker, Amazon's streaming music service will be used. You have to say "Play David Bowie's 'Heroes' on Spotify" to get a different result.

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Posted in alexa, amazon, amazon echo, amazon music, amazon music unlimited, apple music, music, spotify, streaming, Tech | Comments (0)

Illinois bill banning eavesdropping by IoT devices defanged by tech lobby

April 11th, 2019
Illinois' Senate had a bill that would ban devices from eavesdropping without telling you. But the Internet Alliance made sure the bill as passed would have no teeth.

Enlarge / Illinois' Senate had a bill that would ban devices from eavesdropping without telling you. But the Internet Alliance made sure the bill as passed would have no teeth. (credit: NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

On April 10, the Illinois State Senate passed the "Keep Internet Devices Safe Act," a bill that would ban Internet device manufacturers from collecting audio from Internet-connected devices without disclosing it to consumers. But the bill was substantially neutered after a fierce lobbying effort by an industry association backed by Amazon and Google.

The bill passed on the heels of Amazon's admission that the company sometimes sends copies of audio clips captured by its Echo devices to offices around the world for transcription by employees—something not mentioned in Echo's terms of service or FAQ pages.

The bill as passed by the Senate states:

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Posted in amazon echo, Biz & IT, Google Home, Illinois Senate, Policy, wiretaps | Comments (0)

Amazon must give up Echo recordings in double murder case, judge rules

November 10th, 2018
Close-up of the base of an Amazon Echo smart speaker using the Alexa service, with Amazon logo visible, on a light wooden surface, San Ramon, California, May 31, 2018.

Enlarge / Close-up of the base of an Amazon Echo smart speaker using the Alexa service, with Amazon logo visible, on a light wooden surface, San Ramon, California, May 31, 2018. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

On Friday, a local judge in New Hampshire ordered Amazon to hand over Echo recordings made the day a Farmington couple was murdered at their home.

According to local media accounts, Strafford County Superior Court Presiding Justice Steven M. Houran compelled Amazon to disclose not only the audio files but any associated data—such as what phones were paired to the smart speaker—that may be connected to the January 2017 murder of Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini.

Prosecutors say the women were murdered by Timothy Verrill, who is due to stand trial in May 2019. Verrill has pleaded not guilty. Authorities have previously noted that the bodies of the women were found stabbed to death under a tarp, with a knife buried nearby.

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Posted in amazon, amazon echo, murder, Policy | Comments (0)