Thursday, December 07, 2017

Why "Alexa?"


According to Amazon's Senior Vice President of Devices, David Limp, there are two reasons why the company's voice service is named "Alexa":

The problem was choosing a word that people didn't ordinarily use in everyday life. "Computer" wouldn't cut it. So after testing various names, the team landed on a word Alexa, that used soft vowels and an "x." It sounded fairly unique.

But the engineers also liked the name for that somewhat geeky Star Trek-ish reason. It was "a little reminiscent of the library of Alexander" which was at one time the keeper of "all knowledge," Limp said.

I suspect a third: It's evocative of ELIZA. Don't know why that occurred to me, but it did and I just thought I'd share.

We've got two Alexa-powered speakers in our home: An Echo Dot and a Eufy Genie. I bought both on sale at ~$20 each.

The Dot is more powerful in certain ways -- it has Bluetooth to connect to a speaker while the Genie doesn't, it can make phone calls to my contact list, etc. -- but they're both good at the basics. "Alexa, what's the weather?" "Alexa, set a time for 10 minutes/alarm for 6am," "Alexa, play some Grateful Dead," and so on. I like them, but obviously your mileage may vary over privacy concerns and so forth.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Three Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide
Some graphics and styles ported from a previous theme by Jenny Giannopoulou