Amazon digital assistant Alexa gets new skill: amnesia

Amazon digital assistant Alexa gets new skill: amnesia

The new Echo Show 5 has just been revealed and it arrives packing all the usual Alexa-powered smart skills but it also adds a 5.5-inch screen and in-built camera to mix. "The new form factor is flawless for a bedside table, living room side table or desk, plus it has a camera shutter for added peace of mind, and new Alexa privacy features for even more control", said Parag Gupta, Head of Amazon Devices, India.

Amazon today announced a smaller version of its Echo Show smart display that will retail for just $90 when it goes on sale in June. The spherical Echo Spot, for example, was certainly sized for bedside duties, however the fact that it had a camera led some potential buyers to look elsewhere.

These reductions make the speaker much more competitive with Google's Nest Hub (née Home Hub), which has a 7-inch display (but no camera) and costs $129. To be clear, this new feature doesn't delete the text transcripts Amazon keeps, but the company is working on a solution to remove all text transcripts for all of its systems.

Once that's done, you can tell Alexa, "Delete everything I said today". These records are used by the company to refine the AI's abilities, and were at the center of a privacy scandal in April when it was revealed that human auditors were listening to select recordings.

Now, as well as giving Alexa voice commands, you can do things like turning your lights off by using on-screen controls. Recent reporting and research on Amazon's digital assistant, he said, likely "helped inform these decisions" by the company. That's because once this is enabled, anyone will be able to delete your history, not just you. There are also new, simplified ways to delete voice recordings and a new privacy hub webpage that explains how Echo devices use and store voice recordings. It will also be available in Mexico "coming soon".

A separate privacy settings section allows audio files to be reviewed, and specific recordings - or all of them - to be deleted. Amazon is the leader in the fast-growing smart speaker market, according to data from market-research firm Canalys - ahead of competitors such as Google and Apple, which have touted the various privacy features in their own competing devices.

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