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Ads coming to Amazon Alexa?

Ads coming to Amazon Alexa?
© James Copeland | Dreamstime.com

Amazon Alexa has surged in popularity since it was originally released in November 2014. The virtual assistant has become a favorite item in millions of households across the country.

It makes perfect sense. Alexa has the capability to check the weather and local news, set alarms, add appointments to your calendar, control the volume on your stereo system, and so much more. Click here for a list of Alexa commands you never knew you could use for the virtual assistant.

However, there are a few downsides to this device. We've warned you about how Amazon Alexa is always listening, and the security risks that it poses. We've also shared examples where Alexa misinterpreted a request and ordered products without the owners' permission.

Now, it looks like there could be another problem in store. According to reports, Amazon is currently experimenting with paid advertisements for the system.

In the same way targeted advertising has taken over Facebook and Google, Amazon Alexa may be the next victim. But what does that mean for consumers?

Based on the report, Amazon's paid advertising is intended to attract interest from marketers who are "looking to leverage the potential of voice search."

Since Alexa is paving the way, turning voice recognition into the next frontier of web browsing, it's naturally the ideal candidate for such an experiment.

However, once implemented, this could mean that sponsored advertisements would be given more weight in search results than what Alexa would otherwise return.

If successful, paid searches could also work their way into other voice recognition services such as Google Home - the top rival for the Amazon Echo and Echo dot.

Thanks to the Federal Trade Commission, all paid content on the web must be clearly labeled so that consumers are aware that it's an ad. However, with voice recognition programs, this could present an interesting challenge, since such labeling would need to be audible. Without audible cues, consumers would have no way of knowing if the search result Alexa returned was indeed a paid ad.

Luckily, this paid search option is still in its infancy. At this point, Amazon officials are merely flirting with the idea. But should it go through, would this change your opinion of the reliability of the service? Let us know in the comments below.

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