The Sellers Guide to Winning over Amazon Alexa

The article titled The Complete Guide to Amazon Alexa SEO on Search Engine Journal positions Amazon as ahead of the smart home curve with their digital assistant, Alexa. The bulk of the article is dedicated to helping third-party sellers improve their search rank so that Alexa chooses their product. Of course, Alexa can help you purchase something on Amazon, and even recommend specific brands and products based on the keywords she is given. The article states,

Amazon has already confirmed that Amazon’s Choice is the program that determines which products Alexa purchases for users. While there is currently no option to submit a product to the Amazon’s Choice program, the company has revealed some of the requirements for being chosen. We know that the product needs to be available via Prime through the Fulfillment by Amazon or through the Seller Fulfilled Prime program to be eligible… Amazon also looks at price, rating, reviews and shipping speed.

Other important markers include sellers that have a history of buyers. Conversion rates also play into this in the Amazon algorithm, and the article details the best way to send potential buyers to Amazon when they are ready to make a purchase. As far as SEO, the best practices include using images, following Amazon’s title formula, and the inclusion of relevant keywords. Read the full article to get more tips on how to strategically optimize your Amazon page.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 6, 2017

Amazon Rekognition Now Estimates Age

It is a good thing lying about one’s age has gone out of style. I Programmer reports, “Amazon Rekognition Can Now Estimate Your Age.” Writer Lucy Black reports on Rekognition’s remarkable progress identifying images, calling it the closest thing Amazon has to a true neural network service. Give it a photo, she writes, and then:

The data it can return varies from a bounding box to emotion, gender, eyes open, etc. Now it also includes an estimated age range for a person.

For now, the age ranges are pretty broad—“38 to 57,” for example. The article discusses this program and other Amazon AI undertakings, like Amazon AI Services (part of AWS), language-processing system Lex, and text-to-speech service Polly. See the article for more details.

Cynthia Murrell, March 3, 2017

Translation Earpiece on Horizon

A relic from the future is due out this year: the wearable translator. Startup Waverly Labs shares a YouTube video, “A World Without Language Barriers,” to introduce their product. They have raised over $4 million through Indiegogo for the development of the device, named the Pilot. The video should intrigue anyone who follows machine translation. A Waverly press release specifies:

Pilot uses the latest technologies in speech recognition, machine translation and wearable technology to allow users to converse without language barriers. Pilot includes a second earpiece for wireless music streaming and a mobile app, which toggles between languages.

This could also be valuable for use with foreign-language videos and other media, unlocking vast stores of knowledge for many. My question—Will the translation quality actually exceed today’s imperfect machine translation? If not, users will have to be on alert for crossed wires; the earpiece may lead one to forget errors may occur.

Early funding is now closed, but the company has moved pre-orders to its website. Each unit costs $249, and they expect to deliver in “late summer 2017.” Oh, and they come in black, white, or red. Waverly Labs was founded in 2013 and is based in New York City.

Cynthia Murrell, February 21, 2017