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.
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.
Chuck got an Amazon Echo for Christmas and he's learned that he can control his stereo with it. Leo says that for $99, the Logitech Harmony Hub will not only control his stereo, but also his TV, cable box, and AV receiver, everything. It's designed to work with your smartphone, but it also works with the Echo too.
Rachel says that if you're blind and need help with your Echo, Amazon has an accessibility line that can help out. Call 888-283-1678
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.
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.
Nancy has an Android phone, her kids have iPhone. Which assistant should she get, Amazon Echo or Google Home? Leo says it doesn't really matter, but for Nancy, using the Google Home would be similar to Android's voice assistant. The Echo has been out for a few years now and it's a mature system, whereas Google Home just came out not long ago. Google Home is better for facts because of its search knowledge. Amazon Echo is better for home automation. It works well with a variety of Internet of Things devices. Google Home isn't quite there yet with Internet of Things.
Bill wants to know if he can hack the Echo to make it more powerful. Or would he be better off going with Google Home? Leo says that both are good, so he should pick one and stick to it. Leo advises buying the cheaper Echo Dot. It has Bluetooth and line out, so he can connect it to a really nice powered speaker. He can also do a party mode where they are linked and synced together. He can then create zones for different music, or have them all play the same thing.
Jay has an Amazon Echo Dot and the Logitech Harmony system, and sometimes the Echo simply doesn't do anything. Leo says it can do that if it doesn't understand the command. Leo suggests turning on the "ding" feature that will signal that it understands him. He can also use the Amazon Echo app on his phone and look at what the Echo is doing. Then he can see if and why it didn't understand him.