This is quite clever.
Amazon is ready to unleash its Super Bowl commercial that ponders what happens if Alexa loses her voice. But Amazon also wants to make sure it’s not setting off the Alexa in the homes of people who are watching the ad.
So, as Bloomberg notes, Amazon has ensured that most, if not all of, the Echos around the country won’t be affected by the repeated calls of “Alexa” in the commercial.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and others have apparently been thinking about this potential problem before the Echo even hit the market, because they don’t want to annoy their customers or put too much of a burden on Amazon’s servers if everybody’s Echo was triggered by the same commercial at the same time.
About a year ago, a Reddit user named aspyhackr might have figured out how Amazon accomplishes that purpose.
In other words, Amazon, through the use of its reduced or muted volume in the commercials, is telling the Echo not to respond.
In a recent blog post, Amazon had this explanation for why the Echo will ignore the commercial:
This is possible because of acoustic fingerprinting technology that can distinguish between the ad and actual customer utterances … Manoj Sindhwani, director for Speech Recognition, explains that our teams build acoustic fingerprints on-the-fly within our AWS cloud. When multiple devices start waking up simultaneously from a broadcast event, similar audio is streaming to Alexa’s cloud services. An algorithm within Amazon’s cloud detects matching audio from distinct devices and prevents additional devices from responding. The dynamic fingerprinting isn’t perfect, but as many as 80 to 90 percent of devices won’t respond to these broadcasts thanks to the dynamic creation of the fingerprints.
Here’s the commercial in case you want to test out your Echo before the big game.
H/T the Verge