This was an exciting episode of Jay Today to record, as it chronicles the initial trial run with my brand new Amazon Echo. It’s a new consumer product from Amazon at a price point of $99 (note: now $149). It plugs into the wall and connects to your Wi-Fi. Essentially, it’s like Siri, but better because you don’t have to have your phone with you, it works strictly with voice controls, and it also plays music, the radio and podcasts on a surprisingly decent speaker.
You can also ask it to place items on your shopping list like “get toilet paper.” For now, you cannot conduct commerce through the Echo, but that’s assuredly where Amazon is headed.
(watch video for my demo, including the question “Who is Seth Godin?”)
As you can see in the video, it’s pretty remarkable – especially for a first-generation device. And, that’s not the only advanced consumer product that’s coming out lately.
Amazon just announced their Amazon Dash Button, which is literally a push button with a logo on it for a brand, like Tide, for example. So you put it next to your washing machine and when you’re out of Tide, you just press the button and Tide shows up at your house. It’s also connected via Wi-Fi.
As my wife said, “If we still had babies, having a little button next to your changing table would be amazing. Press the button. Diapers show up the next day.” (maybe via drone?) Wow.
Also, Google just announced what they are calling (for now) Pony Express, which is the ability to pay all of your bills from inside Gmail. You get a bill from anybody, power company, water company, your friend, whatever. You just click a button inside Gmail, and it will actually pay your bill instantly through Google Payments.
All of this stuff is, in fact, super useful. It’s amazing. But is it, in fact, wise? Are we crossing over from useful to scary?
I love the Amazon Echo. I think it’s a very interesting device. But, of course, every single thing I ask it gets stored in the Amazon database. It knows what I listen to. It knows where I am. It knows when I need weather conditions. It knows that I, evidently, need to know who Seth Godin is and I need paper towels. It knows everything about us.
We are on a very slippery slope here, folks, and we are starting to accelerate down that slope. Our ability to create products that make our lives easier is unbelievable and unprecedented. But yet, are we going to, at some point, look back and say, “This was the line in the sand that maybe we shouldn’t have crossed”?
Maybe I’m just old. Maybe I’m just paranoid. I love this kind of technology, but I’m a little bit freaked out. Are you?
Sprout Social Shoutout
This week’s Sprout Social Shoutout is for my friend, Chuck Hemann. I got to see Chuck briefly in San Diego a week or so ago. Chuck is a brilliant guy, one of the foremost analysts in social media and digital marketing. He has a terrific head for statistics and understanding key performance indicators and really making social media and digital marketing work. You should absolutely be following Chuck Hemann in social media. He’s also the co-author of Digital Marketing Analytics, which I highly recommend.
This video is from Jay Today is my near-daily 3-minute video where I talk about social media, content marketing, business and life. JayToday is available on Youtube, iTunes (as a video podcast, and now as an audio podcast too), and at JayToday.tv. The show is sponsored by Sprout Social (which I use for my social media), and Candidio (a great video editing service).