Amazon has not figured out how to get customers to buy stuff with Alexa, its digital assistant, which is largely a disappointment for the company. But while Alexa has underperformed as a product for Amazon, we want to know how it’s performing for the people who really matter: us.
If you have bought a smart speaker or display powered by a voice-controlled digital assistant such as Alexa, we’d like to hear from you. Does your family still use it, and if so, how?
I am an editor on the Tech desk at The New York Times and have two boys, ages 6 and 8. In some families with young children like mine, voice assistants are hugely useful. My first-grader asks Alexa about the weather before getting himself dressed in the morning. He and his brother use it to check their math, play problem-solving games and control the music played in our house.
They are too young for phones, so Alexa gives them access to the digital world — and without the nasty stuff like online predators.
During dinner, when my boys ask me something I cannot answer, I don’t bring my phone to the table to search Google. We ask Alexa. I help them perfect how to ask the question to get the right result, somewhat similar I’d imagine to how previous generations of parents taught their children how to use reference books.
I’m curious about how other families experience voice assistants. Tell us what you’ve been surprised to hear your children ask Alexa or make it do. If you’ve figured out any great life or parenting hacks with it, we want to hear about that, too.
We’re also curious if you’re using the assistant in ways that Amazon had hoped, such as shopping online with it. Or if it has led you to sign up for one of the company’s subscription services, like Prime or Audible. Or maybe you found it to be a waste — and creepy.
We plan to publish a selection of the responses in a future article on the ways families are using (or not using) digital assistants. We will not publish any part of your submission without contacting you first. We may use your contact information to follow up with you.
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