What Exactly Is The Alexa Beta Testing Program?

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If you watched the Super Bowl on Sunday evening, you would have been as glued to the commercial breaks as much as the game. Not only are the commercials the most highly paid for few seconds of television per year, but they are the most eagerly anticipated. Who wasn’t thrilled to see the new Avengers film trailer? But there were a few commercials that left many a tongue wagging. And they were from Amazon. They left us all wondering…what exactly is the Alexa Beta Testing Program?

What Exactly Is The Alexa Beta Testing Program?

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE ALEXA BETA TESTING PROGRAM?

A host of top names including Harrison Ford, Forest Whittaker and astronaut twins Mark and Scott Kelly were all featured in commercials that were very reminiscent of ‘2001 – A Space Oddyssey’. Alexa opened – bathing the face of the stars in her signature blue light. Then announced that they were part of the ‘beta testing program’.

But what exactly is the Alexa Beta Testing Program? The question was still not answered. Even on Amazon’s website there is no real explanation. Just a teaser, saying that if you ask Alexa herself, she may give you a few secret hints into what the buzz is all about. There is a code given…

Beta Testing Programs

A beta testing program is when a sample of the audience using a program get to try out newly developed software and programs before they get rolled out globally. A beta test is thus a pre-release test to see if the new developments are likely to work.

Amazon even admitted that not everything makes it through the development stages.

So is the beta testing program a sign of some exciting new developments? We still don’t know!

What is Alexa?

You may be asking, what is Alexa?

Alexa is Amazon’s answer to having a personal assistant right in your home. Housed inside the Amazon Echo wireless speaker, you can issue voice commands to Alexa to play music, control items in your home that are connected to the system, shop and much more. Purely voice activated, all you have to do is ‘ask Alexa‘.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE ALEXA BETA TESTING PROGRAM?

Furthermore, by adding ‘Skills’ to Alexa (a type of app for the system) you can get her to call a taxi, order a pizza or play a game. There are lots of skills available to download from various developers. Some are useful, some are fun, some just very throwaway.

Which is all very fine, but there could be a downside to all this.

Privacy Issues?

The Alexa is constantly listening to conversations, waiting for the wake-up alert word. Does this mean that it is constantly tracking and thinking of what to market to you next? Probably. But only like Facebook knows which ads to show you. And how cookies are able to keep tabs on your every movement in the internet.

Lots of people think that this constant listening is an invasion of privacy. It is constantly collecting data about you. Should you inform people that visit you that they are being listened to?

And how much do you want to entrust to the new generation of artificial intelligence that we are inviting into how homes? I described Alexa as a personal assistant. The adverts have a very definite ‘Hal’ from 2001 vibe? How far away from that scenario are we becoming?

Anyway, I digress. Are we any closer to finding out the answer to the question? What exactly is the Alexa Beta Testing Program? Is it just a clever ploy by Amazon to sell more Alexas? Are there going to be some exciting developments in what Alexa can do in the near future? I just seem now to be asking more questions.

Maybe I should ask Alexa.

Enjoyed this? Why not read my Ultimate Guide To What You Need As A New Parent & What You Don’t!

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Twin Mummy and Daddy

 

PoCoLo

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

30 Replies to “What Exactly Is The Alexa Beta Testing Program?”

  1. Michelle Kellogg says:

    I didn’t watch the Super Bowl this year (I actually forgot, oops) so I missed these commercials but I do have an Alexa. the only thing I really use it for is to play music. I think adding skills is overwhelming and kind of a waste of time because A, I don’t need a personal assistant and B, I don’t know what I would ask her that I can’t just google. Maybe I’m old fashioned in how I use today’s technology lol! I do love that it plays music for me though. That’s the best part for me. #MMBC

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I must admit, most of my appliances couldn’t be linked to her anyway, but it is amazing how far things have come.

      Reply
  2. Louisa says:

    Alexa is the bane of my life. She either ignores me or starts playing music randomly. I am sure she is haunted!! I wonder what additions they plan to make to it? #pocolo

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I wonder too what changes they are planning. Maybe it is to help her stop randomly doing things as you’re not the first I’ve heard of just switching itself on!

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I hadn’t heard about that court case but I am not shocked! Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  3. Nigel says:

    We have Alexa but truth be known it sits in our kitchen not even plugged in Thanks for linking to #Thatfridaylinky hope to see you next week

    Reply
  4. Jenna - Northernbird84 says:

    We don’t get the adverts during the super bowl in the UK but I just asked my Alexa and she told us that it’s a testing plan with astronauts “lets just say, its out of this world” teaser!! I’m intrigued now! #KCACOLS

    Reply
  5. Lana says:

    My husband and I just bought an Alexa and are still trying to play with it. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I’m sure they take some getting used to. Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  6. Lisa Pomerantz says:

    Hi Jo, Alexa is quite the hit in our household. She always plays music for my dancing girls, when I do dishes, etc. She answers or homework questions (sort of) and plays podcasts for me in the early am while I drink my coffee. Interesting that they are up to more tests.
    Very interesting! #kcacols xoxo

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I know, I can’t wait to see what Alexa has in store next!

      Reply
  7. mainy says:

    It all sounds quite mysterious:) I haven’t got an alexa ‘yet’ but it is one of those things that I think will make an appearance in our house at some point.
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.
    Mainy

    Reply
  8. Carol Cameleon says:

    Alexa is like a fomo thing isn’t it? Everyone’s curious and you know you’ll end up getting one. Not sure I will though to be fair, but you get my drift. #kcacols

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It reminds me of iPhones in that way. Yes we were all a bit sceptical at first, but then they took over the world.

      Reply
  9. Typical Mummy says:

    We do love our Alexa but I find it a bit scary that she’s constantly listening! (And the fact that I’ve just called her “she” and not “it”!!!) #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      And this is the thing isn’t it? We find it easy to personify a machine because it has a voice. Yes, this could be the future of AI…

      Reply
  10. Lucy At Home says:

    We don’t have an Alexa but we have a Google Home which is similar. We love it and it’s great for the kids to be able to ask questions and feed their curiosity (e.g. what sound does a peacock make? How far is it from here to London?, etc).

    I love the way Amazon have got everyone excited about their Alexa developments – great advertising campaign! #blogcrush
    Lucy At Home recently posted…BlogCrush Week 104 – 8th February 2019My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Yes, that was all I could think. I was intrigued, so a lot of people must feel the same way! Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  11. Sarah | Digital Motherhood says:

    Sounds interesting! I loved Alexa at first but now she just ignores me or answers with random stuff! Lol Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS, look forward to you joining us again soon.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      And this could be a problem. Hopefully one that Amazon know about and want to fix.

      Reply
  12. Malin - Sensational Learning with Penguin says:

    We don’t have an Alexa, and I’m very reluctant to get one. My hubby has suggested it a few times though. The last time he brought it up, I asked him why on earth he thought we’d need one, and he said “it would give me someone else to talk to”! Poor soul. I told him Alexa probably would be a disappointment to him as a partner for conversation… What do you think, could I be wrong? 🙂 x #KCACOLS
    Malin – Sensational Learning with Penguin recently posted…Sensory Fun in the Kitchen: Iceberg SlushMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I think that he will struggle to converse in that way with Alexa! Lol

      Reply

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