We’ve had the Echo dot (Alexa) in Australia for the last 2 years, imported from the US.
Most features did not work within Australia at the time, so we were very limited in what we could do.
Alexa became a device to play ocean sounds at night, and that was all. It was not even able to be used as a clock as the sheer difficulty in time zone differences made it a nightmare to set the right time. Not even controlling lights or IFTTT would work with Alexa and when we reached out to Amazon no one cared and no one responded. We were writing a skill for Alexa and while it worked, one day it stopped working and Amazon did not help. Yet it was their problem.
When the Echo and Echo Dot were released in Australia, Alexa got a little smarter just not useful.
Yes, Alexa can now control the WEMO lights On / Off / Dim through IFTTT, grew an Australian accent and can now tell me the weather for my location. It all ends there.
Overall Alexa is very boring, the Skills available are just simply trash and shows how little functionality Alexa has built in. I mean we needed to add a skill to Alexa to simply get dog jokes.
When it comes to asking Alexa any random real-life based questions Alexa goes belly up, she either does not know how to do that or reads you the first paragraph from Wikipedia with no resemblance of any intelligence what so ever.
Asking Alexa what sound a Kookaburra makes results in telling us that “a kookaburra sounds like someone laughing at a joke”, yet no sound of a Kookaburra is played. No Dice. Certainly not helpful to kids who might be trying to learn.
We also have Google Home sitting in the living room next to the TV. I can say that Google Home gets a work out because it’s a useful tool. We often have Google Home show videos or music videos on the TV through Google ChromeCast, Google Home controls our FetchBox, Netflix, and controls the house lights, alarm and calendar reminders also work.
What we do like the most is being able to ask Google Home random questions just like we were Googling it. We were watching MKR (My Kitchen Rules) and wanted to know where a particular restaurant was located. Google Home was able to tell us in under 10 seconds.
We’re struggling to find useful ways to use the hockey puck known as Echo Dot and Alexa. It’s everything you don’t want, including the bad jokes. I did ask Alexa a few days ago “Alexa, tell me a joke that doesn’t suck.” No Response..
So the only intelligence I can see that Alexa does have is to know just how bad her jokes really are.
I’d recommend to anyone that they take a look at Google Home instead of Echo and Alexa. Google has a far more developed eco-system that simply works with Google Home.
We’re not giving the Apple HomePod a look into as it is not even close to being a competitor to Google Home or Alexa.
Chet Carter is an Professional Journalist of 25 years, but has worked with a range of businesses giving him in-depth understanding of many different industries.