Amazon Echo

Can a home assistant device make phone calls?

Amazon Echo Connect

Episode 1463

Stephen from Riverside, CA

Stephen wants to get a voice operated home device to make phone calls for his mother in law. Leo says that the Amazon Echo only works with other Echo devices. Google Home Assistant, however, can be linked to his phone and can make phone calls by voice. The chatroom says that Echo Connect will work to make phone calls, especially emergency ones. Leo says that these in-home voice assistants are a game changer, especially for older folks. They're also cheap enough now that he can put them in every room.

Why can't I play music with my Echo on my stereo?

Amazon Echo Dot

Episode 1461

Mike from Bakersfield, CA

Mike is trying to connect his Echo to his Yamaha home stereo system, as well as his computer speakers. But when he starts playing it, it disconnects and plays on the Echo speaker. Leo says he'll have to set it up with the Echo app. The trick is to use the right command. He should be specific. For instance, he could tell it "Echo, play music in the living room."

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.

Can Amazon Echo be used to spy on me?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1457

Mark from South Carolina

Mark wants to know if Amazon Echo is going to be used in cars. Leo says it will. In fact, Leo just installed one in his. And we'll soon see Google's Assistant there, too. It's the next big thing in computing. Mark is also concerned that Echo could be used to spy on him. Leo says that's possible. But Leo doesn't think Amazon wants to manage all that information and the risk to its business if it was discovered that Amazon was snooping on customers would be devastating. But then again, law enforcement could always subpoena to have access to it.

How can I keep my Echo from crashing?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1454

Brian from Indio, CA

Brian's Amazon Echo has been misbehaving since the New Year. It keeps failing and restarting. Leo says that indicates a faulty device. It may be overheating or is worn out. Amazon really doesn't have a good suggestion either, so Leo recommends contacting them about an RMA return. There is a reset button, though, so he could try that first. It's a little hole at the base of the device. He'll need to use a paperclip to press it in, and he'll have to hold that button down for a few seconds to reset it.