Amazon’s Echo: The Interface for the Digital Home?


I’ve been using my Amazon Echo for a couple of weeks now and here are my thoughts.

  • It was the first device I made sure was working after my move on Sunday. That was a bit of a surprise to me since I wanted it working more than my Apple TV.
  • I’m listening to more music. I used to stream music through my Apple TV, but that required Spotify & turning on my TV.  Now all I have to do is ask for music.  This feels magical.
  • NPR –  I love NPR’s Marketplace. I used to listen to it on my drive home from work when I lived in San Francisco.  For some reason I don’t like it as a podcast during my subway commute though.  Now I play it as I get ready for bed.
  • I don’t use the App and hence the shopping list hasn’t worked for me.
  • My fiancee delights in asking Alexa random questions…

“ What is the capital of Puru?”

and trying to trick ‘Her’.

“Alexa, are you smart?”

  • She recently discovered this list of questions on Reddit, some are really funny.
  • I find myself asking about the weather a lot as well.

I think Alexa could become the operating system or interface to a connected home.  I already want her to be able to turn on my TV, to play shows and dim my smart bulbs. It may be the reason I go get Phillips Hue bulbs.

I hope Amazon opens the API and keeps working with IFTTT to add more functionality. I know they just launched a fund to back companies that are creating applications around their platform and I think this could be a killer app for them. Speaking to your smart home just feels like a magical interface and Amazon really got this one right on the first try. It is like living in the future.


  1. I just started playing with mine a few days ago. Few things impress me these days. The Echo surprisingly did.. from the initial packaging to the actual performance. One negative is that mine seems to buffer a lot at the start of a song, but that’s probably the fault of Amazon music network. Voice recognition is phenomenal. I’ll definitely toy with writing some apps for this gadget.

  2. One more downside. No authentication. When I’m listening to my music, the kids run by and scream “Alexa, play spongebob squarepants”.

  3. I love Marketplace and Kai Ryssdal!

  4. Amazon got this right. Bringing Iron Man’s ‘Jarvis’ to every home and making things easier, not adding things by making asking questions seamless. Pretty cool.

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