Amazon’s new Memory feature about to overtake Google Home?
You’ve got to admit, Google has its ways with the style factor of the Smart Home department with its cute minimalistic designs, but what’s more important; design or usability? We’ve yet to come up with a flawless product, but Amazon Alexa is taking a stand and preparing to one-up its competitors in the AI field. At the recent Web conference in France, Ruhi Sarikaya, Director of Applied Science at Amazon, announced the Memory feature – the ability for Alexa to recall inputs from the user.
Now, you may be wondering what’s so special about that considering Google Assistant already had a similar feature yonks ago? All you have to do is say “Ok Google, remember ________”. This feature is pretty convenient but lacks one important feature; the ability to attach a time stamp and location to the request. It appears that Amazon has caught onto this flaw because Memory has the ability to do exactly that, add a time and/or place to your command.
Got a birthday to remember? Easy. Just say:
“Alexa, remember that Hodor’s birthday is on February 21st”
To which it’ll reply: “Okay, I’ll remember that Hodor’s birthday is on February 21st”
Pretty neat huh? This is all in an effort to make Alexa more personalized which is a good step in assimilating AI into our world.
Aside from the Memory feature, another useful update to Alexa (from the list of many which you can read here) is what they call ‘Skills Arbitration’ which is basically the ability for a user to learn a new skill without having to find out on their own. Take removing a stain for example – simply ask Alexa how to remove it and it should reply back with step-by-step instructions, including which exact products to use.
I tried asking Google Assistant the same thing, and whilst I did give me an answer, it was semi-vague and not as concise/informative as I’d like it to be. To really learn a skill, you have to have a very good and clear tutorial on how to do it properly, otherwise, you’d get a half-assed result or remain just as clueless as you were prior asking your Assistant.
Either way, it’ll be useful for basic questions like “how to send a postcard in another country (seriously this is rocket science, 10/10 confusing) or “what to feed my pet iguana”. You know, common questions.
Anyway, Alexa plans on making it seem ‘frictionless’ (a fancy word for effortless) which again, is a good step in creating the perfect companion in your smart home. I for one am excited to see how far Amazon’s AI will go. Currently, I do prefer my cute Google Home mini over the Echo Dot but who knows, if Alexa can clearly tell me how to remove a stain without me becoming more confused then I might make the switch.