Alexa, when is Bruno Mars coming to Nashville?
What times does the Ed Sheeran show start?
Those music-related answers, and more, are now available within the Alexa voice activated assistant, which resides on the Amazon Echo connected speakers, and through Amazon’s Fire TV Edition and other products.
Amazon has enabled touring and venue information, along with start times for shows.
You may need to rephrase your question a few times, but variations on “Is Metallica touring,” “Who is playing at the Apollo Theater in New York City,” and “What time does Pink’s show start tonight,” should result in tour dates, the Sept. 7th gig for former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and 8 p.m for Pink.
We tried out the questions on several different days with Alexa, and also compared to rivals from Google and Apple.
With Google, which touts the Google Assistant for smartphones and the Google Home connected speaker, the results were a strikeout. Google was either confused, or seeking the data within our Google Calendar information.
Ironically, the answers to all the queries were easily found, within a second or two, within the Google search engine, via typing.
Apple’s Siri personal assistant, the most used of the voice-activated assistants thanks to the 1.3 billion users of the iPhone (compared to an expected 100 million for Amazon and Google speakers by year’s end), couldn’t answer one question verbally.
The answer each time was, “Here’s what I found on the Web,” and while the Web links were generally good, they didn’t always answer the question. Example: A link to Pink’s tour dates didn’t answer the question about what time the show would start. (That would be 7 p.m. in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sept. 4, which, by the time you read this, thanks to time zones, was actually yesterday.)
Reader tip: If at first you don’t succeed with your query for Alexa, try again, with better diction, or different phrasing.
While Alexa won’t buy concert tickets for you — not yet anyway — this is a fun new tool for those times when you just want to know when Katy Perry is playing in your town, and hands-free is the way to go.
Readers, check out the tools and let me know what you think on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham.
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EXCLUSIVE: Alexa, who’s playing at Radio City tonight?
Amazon’s connected speaker and voice assistant can now get you touring information, times shows will start and dates for your favorite performers. We tried the same queries with Google Home and Apple’s Siri, and it was a total strikeout for them.
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