amazon alexa

Is Amazon Echo always listening?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1457

Charmaine from Costa Mesa, CA

Charmaine wants to know if she can plug Amazon Echo into a surge protector. Leo says of course! Charmaine also worries that it's always listening. Leo says it is, but it doesn't actively listen unless she says one of four words: Amazon, Echo, Alexa, or Computer. It's only listening for those words. Once it hears the wake word, then it turns on the microphone and sends her request.

Should I get Amazon Echo or Google Home for my mom?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1454

Dan from Fresno, CA

Dan wants to get his mother a home assistant and can't decide between Google Home or Amazon Echo. Leo says that both are very similar. If Dan's mom has Amazon Prime, then she'll get a free limited music service with it. Google, however, is better at facts, while Echo is good at skills. So it comes down to what she's going to use it for. Echo is also better with smart home devices (IoT stuff). Leo gave his mother the Echo, but it's important to train his mother how to talk to Echo. For most people, Echo is easier to use.

Should I buy an Amazon Echo?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1230

Paul from LaHoya, CA

Paul wants to know if the Amazon Echo has to connect to his computer. Leo says that the Echo (named Alexa) would require an app on his smartphone, tablet or computer to configure it. After that, he won't need to connect it to anything but the internet. It works alone via Wi-Fi. Leo loves it. He uses it in his kitchen and has it read his audiobooks to him. He also uses it as a timer. And they are adding features all the time. It's a tad pricey, and it's hard for Leo to recommend it for everyone, but Leo thinks it's a taste of the future.