Spotify is experimenting with a voice-control interface, looking to free itself from reliance on Siri and Alexa and pave the way for the company's forthcoming smart speaker. Users of the service have spotted the new feature hiding in the search bar of Spotify's iOS app. After tapping the magnifying glass to search for a track or playlist, testers see a microphone icon inside a white bubble, according to the Verge. After users tap on the icon, Spotify suggests a number of typical requests for a voice-controlled music system: "Show Calvin Harris", "Play my Discover Weekly" and "Play some upbeat pop", for instance. The move comes as Spotify ramps up its efforts to build a smart speaker to challenge Apple, Amazon and Google in the hardware field, all of which have their own music services.
Last week, when asking for a cup of yogurt, my three-year-old son called me Alexa. It's a funny, modern problem to have your child mistake you for a disembodied A.I. voice--in this case, the one powering Amazon's Echo family of devices. But it's also a good example of what it's like living in a home powered by a smart speaker. Too busy to lift a remote, we bark commands into the void expecting something to respond. But on occasion there's no reply: The lights don't turn on.
Voice-enabled personal assistants seem to be headed for ubiquity in the consumer world. Market research firm Gartner predicts consumer demand for voice devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home will generate $3.5 billion by 2021. But they are not confined to living rooms, telling you the day's weather or reading out news briefings. Intelligent voice assistants are slowly but steadily being adopted in healthcare. Several hospitals, such as Boston Children's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, are experimenting with voice assistants and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to provide relevant information and answer queries of patients and medical staff.
It was only two years ago when we imagined ourselves looking cool in a pair of'audio shades' by Zungle. At the time the startup had a run a successful Kickstarter campaign that surpassed their goal of $50k to raise over $1.9million. Now they are back, with the second version of smartglasses. Founded in 2016, the smart eyewear startup sunglasses are all about giving the wearer freedom. The latest pair is AI shades, designed for those who enjoy outdoor activities, brag features like open ear solution which allows you to ride a bike or go to daily running without sacrificing your music.
Having a voice assistant to help you is great, but having the details of an appointment with your doctor recited in public? Voice assistants and voice command technology are both becoming increasingly popular. Amazon alone has already sold more than 100 million Alexa devices, clearly the technology is here to stay in our homes. In public however, where strangers might overhear personal business or sensitive information, people have been much less eager to use voice commands. That's a problem Microsoft aims to solve with a patent on "silent" voice input technology.