Alexa Grace Biography & Facts
Amazon Alexa, also known simply as Alexa, is a virtual assistant technology largely based on a Polish speech synthesiser named Ivona, bought by Amazon in 2013. It was first used in the Amazon Echo smart speaker and the Echo Dot, Echo Studio and Amazon Tap speakers developed by Amazon Lab126. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, such as news. Alexa can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation system. Users are able to extend the Alexa capabilities by installing "skills" (additional functionality developed by third-party vendors, in other settings more commonly called apps) such as weather programs and audio features. It uses automatic speech recognition, natural language processing, and other forms of weak AI to perform these tasks.Most devices with Alexa allow users to activate the device using a wake-word (such as Alexa or Amazon); other devices (such as the Amazon mobile app on iOS or Android and Amazon Dash Wand) require the user to click a button to activate Alexa's listening mode, although, some phones also allow a user to say a command, such as "Alexa" or "Alexa wake".
As of November 2018, Amazon had more than 10,000 employees working on Alexa and related products. In January 2019, Amazon's devices team announced that they had sold over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices.In September 2019, Amazon launched many new devices achieving many records while competing with the world's smart home industry. The new Echo Studio became the first smart speaker with 360 sound and Dolby sound. Other new devices included an Echo dot with a clock behind the fabric, a new third-generation Amazon Echo, Echo Show 8, a plug-in Echo device, Echo Flex, Alexa built-in wireless earphones, Echo buds, Alexa built-in spectacles, Echo frames, an Alexa built-in Ring, and Echo Loop as well as the Echo Show generation.
Alexa was developed out of a predecessor named Ivona which was invented in Poland, inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey and bought by Amazon in 2013. In November 2014, Amazon announced Alexa alongside the Echo. Alexa was inspired by the computer voice and conversational system on board the Starship Enterprise in science fiction TV series and movies, beginning with Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation.Amazon developers chose the name Alexa because it has a hard consonant with the X, which helps it be recognized with higher precision. They have said the name is reminiscent of the Library of Alexandria, which was also used by Amazon Alexa Internet for the same reason. In June 2015, Amazon announced the Alexa Fund, a program that would invest in companies making voice control skills and technologies. The US$200 million fund has invested in companies including Jargon, Ecobee, Orange Chef, Scout Alarm, Garageio, Toymail, MARA, and Mojio. In 2016, the Alexa Prize was announced to further advance the technology.
In January 2017, the first Alexa Conference took place in Nashville, Tennessee, an independent gathering of the worldwide community of Alexa developers and enthusiasts. Follow up conferences went under the name Project Voice and featured keynote speakers such as Amazon's Head of Education for Alexa, Paul Cutsinger.At the Amazon Web Services Re: Invent conference in Las Vegas, Amazon announced Alexa for Business and the ability for app developers to have paid add-ons to their skills.
In May 2018, Amazon announced it would include Alexa in 35,000 new homes built by Lennar.In November 2018, Amazon opened its first Alexa-themed pop-up shop inside of Toronto's Eaton Centre, showcasing the use of home automation products with Amazon's smart speakers. Amazon also sells Alexa devices at Amazon Books and Whole Foods Market locations, in addition to mall-based pop-ups throughout the United States.
In December 2018, Alexa was built into the Anki Vector and was the first major update for the Anki Vector, although Vector was released in August 2018, he is the only home robot with advanced technology.
As of 2018, interaction and communication with Alexa were available only in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Hindi. In Canada, Alexa is available in English and French (with the Quebec accent).In October 2019, Amazon announced the expansion of Alexa to Brazil, in Portuguese, together with Bose, Intelbras, and LG.Hoped-for revenue never materialized from people using voice ordering for Amazon products or services from partners like Domino's Pizza and Uber. Alexa does not play audio ads, and display ads were relatively unsuccessful. In 2019 an all-hands crisis meeting was called to address the issue, and a hiring freeze was instated. In 2022, with the division losing several billion dollars per quarter, the company started laying off Alexa employees en masse.
A companion app is available from the Apple Appstore, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore. The app can be used by owners of Alexa-enabled devices to install skills, control music, manage alarms, and view shopping lists. It also allows users to review the recognized text on the app screen and to send feedback to Amazon concerning whether the recognition was good or bad. A web interface is also available to set up compatible devices (e.g., Amazon Echo, Amazon Dot, Amazon Echo Show).
Alexa can perform a number of preset functions out-of-the-box such as set timers, share the current weather, create lists, access Wikipedia articles, and many more things. Users say a designated "wake word" (the default is simply "Alexa") to alert an Alexa-enabled device of an ensuing function command. Alexa listens for the command and performs the appropriate function, or skill, to answer a question or command. When questions are asked, Alexa converts sound waves into text which allows it to gather information from various sources. Behind the scenes, the data gathered is then sometimes passed to a variety of suppliers including WolframAlpha, iMDB, AccuWeather, Yelp, Wikipedia, and others to generate suitable and accurate answers. Alexa-supported devices can stream music from the owner's Amazon Music accounts and have built-in support for Pandora and Spotify accounts. Alexa can play music from streaming services such as Apple Music and Google Play Music from a phone or tablet.
In addition to performing pre-set functions, Alexa can also perform additional functions through third-party skills that users can enable. Some of the most popular Alexa skills in 2018 included "Question of the Day" and "National Geographic Geo Quiz" for trivia; "TuneIn Live" to listen to live sporting events and news stations; "Big Sky" for hyper local weather updates; "Sleep and Relaxation Sounds" for listening to calming sounds; "Sesame Street" for children's entertainment; and "Fitbit" for Fitbit users who want t.... Discover the Alexa Grace popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Alexa Grace books.