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Smart speaker recordings reviewed by humans
Amazon, Apple and Google all employ staff who listen to customer voice recordings from their smart speakers and voice assistant apps.

News site Bloomberg highlighted the topic after speaking to Amazon staff who "reviewed" Alexa recordings.

All three companies say voice recordings are occasionally reviewed to improve speech recognition.

But the reaction to the Bloomberg article suggests many customers are unaware that humans may be listening.

The news site said it had spoken to seven people who reviewed audio from Amazon Echo smart speakers and the Alexa service.
privacy  technology  software  hardware  surveillance  business  AmazonAlexa  AppleSiri 
9 weeks ago by jtyost2
Turns out Amazon buying Eero wasn’t the startup success story we thought
When Amazon bought mesh Wi-Fi router company Eero, our first reactions were of exhaustion, consternation and concern: why couldn’t a tiny company with an excellent privacy-minded product be left to its own devices, instead of getting snapped up by the big data giant from Seattle?

Now, we know why. Mashable reports that Amazon paid just $97 million for Eero, far less money than the $148 million it reportedly raised as a startup. That’s something you don’t do unless your business is in trouble, and it means Amazon may have actually saved Eero from a different fate.

The Verge can confirm that $97 million number, by the way, as well as many of the others in Mashable’s story — we’ve seen similar documents, and we believe they’re the real deal. Eero declined to comment.

There are many potential side effects to the fact that Amazon purchased Eero in a fire sale rather than at a profit, and Mashable’s report details some of them, like how Eero’s executives are making out like bandits with multi-million dollar golden parachutes, while rank-and-file employees are now sitting on worthless stock options — or worse, shares they purchased for $3 that are now worth $0.03 each. It’s a cautionary tale about how stock options work.

But — and we’re very deep in speculation territory now — I’m curious if it also means that we should expect less from Eero, under Amazon, than we might have if it were more of a success story for the startup. If Amazon was able to pay so little for Eero, it may well have smaller ambitions for the company, and it would be that much easier to justify killing it off as a failed experiment if anything goes wrong.  business  technology  hardware  software  eero  stock  from instapaper
10 weeks ago by jtyost2
Jeff Bezos: World's richest man agrees $35bn divorce
The world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, and his wife MacKenzie have agreed a record-breaking divorce settlement worth at least $35bn (£27bn).

Ms Bezos will retain a 4% stake in online retail giant Amazon which her husband of 25 years founded.

She will also give up her interests in the Washington Post newspaper and Mr Bezos' space travel firm Blue Origin.

The deal dwarfs a previous $3.8bn record set by art dealer Alec Wildenstein and his wife Jocelyn.

Ms Bezos made the announcement in a tweet - her first and only one since joining the microblogging website this month - stating that she was "grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage to Jeff with support from each other".
divorce  business  legal  JeffBezos 
10 weeks ago by jtyost2
Amazon Removes Autism “Cure” Books That Promote Kids Drinking Bleach | David Gee | Friendly Atheist | Patheos
Amazon Removes Autism “Cure” Books That Promote Kids Drinking Bleach
By David Gee
March 13, 2019

Until today, when Amazon said it would remove the problematic books mentioned below, the company enabled fraudsters who sold pseudo-scientific autism “cures,” including those involving giving kids bleach to drink.

It’s unclear if the removals are part of a broader policy to remove all anti-vaccination or harmful “cure” books.

Among the dangerous autism “treatments” that were available on the UK version of the website were chemical baths and arsenic poisoning medications, according to an investigation published in WIRED.
autism  business  safety  health 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Alexa Skill Blueprints
Create your own personal Alexa skills and responses in minutes - Make custom party games, household lists, family stories, and more - just fill in the blanks.
alexa  blueprints  echo  amazon  skill  create  customize  personalize  app  your  own 
january 2019 by tranqy
Amazon - Guidelines for charging restocking fees
In some circumstances you can charge a restocking fee when a buyer returns an item. A restocking fee is a percentage of the item's price, depending on the type of item and its condition upon return. (Item price does not include shipping costs.) You calculate the restocking fee when you process the return request.  Restocking  Returns  Amazon-Seller-Central  Amazon  Essio 
january 2019 by peterfriis

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