Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Worst. Receptionist. Ever.

From The Register, May 12:

Amazon's Alexa is worst receptionist ever: Crazy exes, stalkers' calls put through automatically
Ability to screen callers, block people Coming Soon™
Amazon's voice-controlled assistant Alexa and its Echo devices now sport the ability to take your phone calls – so long as you don't ever plan on ignoring calls from anyone.

The Alexa Calling feature, announced by Amazon earlier this week, allows Amazon Echo devices and the Alexa app to place and accept phone calls to and from other contacts who have the device. The feature is touted as an easy way for Echo owners to make calls hands-free through the voice-controlled device.

Unfortunately, say Echo owners, the feature has one serious shortfall stemming from the way it collects and handles calls from others.

Elise Oras, a marketing and events manager from Raleigh, North Carolina, said that when she installed the Echo calling feature on the Alexa Calling app, the Amazon tool scanned and added all contacts from her phone who had Alexa Calling on their phones and Echo boxes, with no way to delete or block any of them.

"Among my contacts were old landlords, many co-workers, random vendor account managers, city councilmen, and of course, crazy ex-boyfriends," Oras blogged earlier today.

"And each one now has a direct line into my home."...