Alexa to provide branded answers to your pressing questions

See, the problem is you just aren’t buying enough. To address this issue, Amazon announced on Thursday that it was introducing a new Alexa feature called “Customers Ask Alexa,” where “expert brands” would provide answers to customer questions like “How can I remove pet hair from my carpet?” which also happen to highlight the specific product of that brand.

According to the company, brands must first log into the Amazon Brand Registry to gain access to the Seller Hub, where they can view and answer questions customers ask their connected Alexa devices. Both questions and answers are reportedly going through the company’s content moderation team before the most relevant answers are broadcast live.

The program will start with a limited release this October before expanding to all eligible US brands by 2023. Alexa users will see the answers in the Amazon search bar by the end of 2022 and on Echo devices by the middle of next year.

While this isn’t the scariest use of Alexa we’ve seen from the company in Q3 2022 – that credit goes to the ghouls who think it’s a good idea to use your grandma’s voiceprints like an auditory puppet — but it’s among the most worrying. Amazon has made no secret of its goal of monitoring (and profiting from) every aspect of our public and private lives that it can sneak into — be it knowledge of our shopping habits, viewing habits, eating habits, of course our cleaning habits, and possibly soon our health habits. And if this announcement is any sign of things to come, it’s going to be that much harder for anyone navigating Amazon’s sprawling online ecosphere to get reliable answers to even basic questions.

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Russell Falcon

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