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Amazon's Alexa passes 15,000 skills, up from 10,000 in February

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Amazon's Alexa voice platform has now passed 15,000 skills -- the voice-powered apps that run on devices like the Echo speaker, Echo Dot, newer Echo Show and others. In the meantime, Amazon's Alexa is surging ahead, building out an entire voice app ecosystem so quickly that it hasn't even been able to implement the usual safeguards -- like a team that closely inspects apps for terms of service violations, for example, or even tools that allow developers to make money from their creations. In the long run, Amazon's focus on growth over app ecosystem infrastructure could catch up with it. In addition, Google Home has just 378 voice apps available as of June 30, Voicebot notes.


The Biggest Trend In Ad Tech We'll See In 2017: The Pay Per Transaction Model

Forbes

What trends are we likely to see in ad tech in 2017? With the success of Amazon Echo and Google Home, we are now firmly in the era of Voice Search. But the Pay Per Impression and Pay Per Click models do not translate well here, and Pay Per Call type ads (launched for mobile by Google in 2015) would be controversial, to say the least. After all, you would have to wonder if the top search result delivered to you truly was the best one or merely from the advertiser who paid the most. Which is why Google -- and very likely others in this space -- are considering Pay Per Transaction, in what would be the biggest shift in advertising in years.


AI and the future of the mortgage industry

#artificialintelligence

The FHA 203k loan program provides home buyers the opportunity to buy and fix up a property, without exhausting their personal savings. The technology space is constantly evolving -- but it's one space where many feel the mortgage industry is behind the power curve. But now powerful tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning -- once the stuff of science fiction -- are becoming reality. And that's one area where the industry needs to be at the cutting edge. "In 2017, machine learning means more efficiency in the mortgage loan cycle," said Ken Bartz, co-founder of Sales Boomerang and Lead Squeeze and CEO of Monster Lead Group.


Google Home Is Beating Alexa In Some Very Important Ways

Forbes

First off, I think they are both fantastic devices. Your biggest loss is not getting either. Echo has many more 3rd party integrations at present, and has better support for some of my IOT devices and Audiobooks. Also, the Echo has Bluetooth, which is lacking on the Home, and I sometimes miss that. So most of the time, I'll use Home, though I'll fall back to talking to my Echo for my older devices for home automation or audiobooks.


Waiting for Alexa 2.0 (and Other Voice AI Assistant Improvements)

#artificialintelligence

There's nothing like a new holiday gift to start the "What if" train, and the arrival of an Amazon Alexa Echo on December 25 was clearly an eye-opener. The Amazon Echo is a sweet piece of hardware and the only place it can go is up. For those who haven't seen the Echo (or got a Google Home instead), it is a round tall black cylinder about a foot plus high, containing seven or so microphones plus a beautiful set of speakers. Echo is always-on, always listening for voice commands triggered by the keyword "Alexa" to invoke recording and processing. It is fair to say everyone has only begun to scratch the surface of a virtual assistant through a dedicated appliance (i.e.


Someone tapped 2 Google homes in an endless conversation on twitch

USATODAY

A live stream of two Google Home devices talking nonstop is as surreal as you'd expect. A link has been sent to your friend's email address. A live stream of two Google Home devices talking nonstop is as surreal as you'd expect.


Google Assistant coming to TVs, smartwatches and cars

PCWorld

Google Assistant will be available soon on Android TVs, with plans to offer the voice-activated personal assistant on car infotainment systems and smartwatches as well. The technology will feature in the coming months, starting with the Nvidia Shield, on Android TVs in the U.S. running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or Android 7.0 Nougat. Some of the devices expected to ship with Google Assistant are the AirTV Player, Sharp Aquos, Sony Bravia and Xiaomi Mi Box, Sascha Prueter, director of Android TV at Google and Gummi Hafsteinsson, product lead for Google Assistant, wrote in a post on Thursday. "Over time, you'll also see the Assistant come to other new surfaces, like smartwatches running Android Wear 2.0, Android-powered in-car infotainment systems and many other types of devices through the Embedded Google Assistant SDK," the executives wrote in the post. Google Assistant is already available on Pixel smartphones, Google Home and the Allo smart messaging app.


Nvidia CES 2017 Keynote: Google Home AI, Cloud Gaming Service, AI Co-Pilot For Your Car

Forbes

Nvidia had a huge 2016 with one of best performing stocks of the year. In the past 12 months, the graphics processing chipmaker's stock value has boomed 230%. This is mostly due to its impressive growth in artificial intelligence applications using its graphics processors in data centers and cars. Meanwhile, Nvidia maintains a fast-growing business in its core gaming market. Partially as a reflection of the growing importance of AI in the tech industry, Nvidia stole the opening Consumer Electronics Show keynote this year from Intel.


The Google Assistant is coming to Android TV

Engadget

Google has talked about bringing its AI assistant to as many places as possible ever since it was first revealed at I/O in May 2016. Right now, it's in the Pixel smartphone, Google Home device and the Allo chat app. Today, Google announced that its next destination will be Android TV devices, including the new NVIDIA Shield (as NVIDIA just confirmed at its CES press conference). Android TV hasn't really taken off as a platform to any real degree, but for those out there using it this will be a nice upgrade. It sounds like it'll work just as you'd expect -- you can ask it questions from Google, tie your Google account into it and get details on your calendar, find out the weather, ask how long your commute is and so forth.


LG unveils Hub Robot to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home

The Guardian

LG unveiled its own competitor to Amazon Echo and Google Home on Wednesday – a home assistant that can play music and tell you the weather but also order your vacuum cleaner to start cleaning the house and turn on your oven. The Hub Robot, which LG said will go on sale in 2017, was shown for the first time in Las Vegas ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show, which opens to the public on Thursday. The device – a little white machine that has two glowing blue "eyes" on the front – appears to be a direct competitor to Amazon Echo and Google Home. Introducing the Hub Robot, David VanderWaal, vice-president of marketing, home appliances & consumer at LG, described it as "your intelligent home assistant". It can also play music, tell you the about the weather and traffic – all things that Amazon Echo and Google Home can do.