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Hearing Voices - Issue #23, or "AI Poly, is this a refrigerator?"

"I like criticism. It makes you strong."-- Lebron James, who last night passed Michael Jordan to beco

Hearing Voices

May 26 · Issue #23 · View online
This week's news about voice computing apps, delivered directly to your inbox.

“I like criticism. It makes you strong.”
Lebron James, who last night passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring leader.

“Please don’t criticize my newsletter.  Unless you include a link for people to subscribe.”
Matt Hartman, who apparently has no shame about promoting his own email newsletter.

Happy almost memorial day weekend. Got some great products to try out, so let’s get to it…
Appz To Try:
> Google Assistant now available on iPhone – I really want to like this, but my honest reaction is “meh” or at best “huh?” I have to open up my phone to use it, and I’m not sure what the use case is (unlike the voice integration in maps, where I know what I’m looking for and it’s annoying to type on mobile). So now I can open up an app press the button, and say “turn on flashlight” and that will turn the flashlight on my phone. I guess that’s cool?  – Listen to blogs. This one is right up my alley as I’m trying to consume my entire life via audio at 2.5x speed.  They also feature trending stories from Medium, which is interesting the context of Medium launching a service for premium members where a narrator reads the articles. is doing this with a digital voice that’s easier to listen to than Siri.
> AI Poly – This is an app for the visually impaired which speaks out loud the things that it’s looking at. If you want to experience the state of what I assume is open source image/object recognition, it’s a pretty cool thing to try. It also hilariously mislabels things, mostly as a refrigerator.
Not a refrigerator.
Not a refrigerator.
Also not a refrigerator.
Also not a refrigerator.
> Google’s Home speaker can now make phone calls – Amazon released the ability for the Echo to call other Echos and also other people who have the Alexa app, whereas Google’s Home speaker lets you call anyone’s phone.
Amazon Echo’s push notifications could be a game-changer for the smart speaker – Smart Home Assistants have thus far resisted push notifications – i.e., just  starting to speak or making a sound unprompted. Likely because of the creep factor. Using the light as an indicator seems like a good product compromise, although not sure about the chime…“a pulsing green light and a chime, which you can then respond to in order to hear all your notifications one after the other.” It seems like the first notifications use case is for P2P calling between echoes which is great since it means it will get people used to the push notifications from people they want to hear from before getting a barrage of notifications from companies trying to brain hack us into a new user behavior, which seems inevitable. 
YouTube VR will have shared rooms and voice chat instead of comment sections – Really cool to see products adopting voice inside of VR. It seems like a great use case.
Just for fun...
Amazon Echo Silver - Designed for the greatest generation (SNL Skit - YouTube)
As always, thanks for reading, and please keep sending over great voice-based products to test out.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend
- Matt
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