I have heard good things about the Amazon Echo and finally succumbed and ordered one. (It is due on my doorstep tomorrow). An Echo is a voice-command device that answers questions, puts events on one’s Google calendar, reads the calendar, and plays music from one’s on-line library, among other things. I’m tempering my expectations a little, though. I wonder if it will also say ‘Sorry you are having trouble’ (as Siri on my iPhone sometimes says). What it cannot say, is ‘Here is what I found’, and just show a screen with search results. There is no screen.
Here are my first battery of test questions for Alexa*. (Poor Alexa). Alexa! How fast is a cheetah? Alexa! Where is Cape Town? Alexa! Do you speak Afrikaans? Alexa! Can you make me some coffee? (That would be a NO). Alexa! Where is the nearest Starbucks? Alexa! Will Donald Trump win the election?
*Alexa is how to summon the Echo. If Alexa happens to be a person in the household, the Echo can be reprogrammed to respond to ‘Amazon’.