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Posted: April 26, 2017

Creepy or useful? Amazon’s new Echo Look selfie camera wants to help you get dressed

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Alija/Getty Images/iStockphoto
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By Fiza Pirani, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When the Amazon Echo had its first big debut in 2015, it was introduced as a speaker with a voice assistant inside. Now, the newest device in the Echo family is focused on making sure you leave the house looking your absolute best.

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On Wednesday, Amazon revealed the Echo Look — priced at $200 — as a “hands-free camera and style assistant” featuring everything Amazon Alexa offers plus a selfie camera to take full-length photos and 360-degree videos, which Alexa uses to give you a major style check.

The camera has built-in LED lighting and depth sensors, which blurs the background.

Here’s how the Echo Look camera works:

1. Simply ask Alexa to take a picture or video or use the Echo Look app to get a live view of your outfits, which will be stored as a lookbook on the app.

2. Use the app to get recommendations based on your daily style.

3. Get a second opinion in the app’s Style Check feature based on outfit, color and current trends, all part of Amazon-curated advice from fashion specialists using advanced machine-learning algorithms.

With Alexa built in, you can use the Echo Look to ask Alexa to read you the news, set your alarms, play music and everything else  for which she’s beloved.

According to The Verge, if the Style Check feature is particularly appealing, the Amazon iOS app offers a similar feature called Outfit Compare under its programs and features menu.

While the Echo Look version gives you a percentage rating of your outfits based on the aforementioned expert opinions, Outfit Compare picks which outfit of two it prefers.

The device, which has a large microphone and camera off button on its side, has a similar design to many home-security cameras.

With video added to the category of always-on devices, a new set of worries surrounding privacy implications of “always-on” recording devices is likely to increase among those who were already wary, TechCrunch reported.

In 2015, according to Law360, a privacy watchdog group urged the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate companies such as Google and Amazon that make “always on” devices such as the Echo Look.

“By introducing ‘always on’ voice recording into ordinary consumer products such as computers, televisions and toys, companies are listening to consumers in their most private spaces,” the group said. “It is unreasonable to expect consumers to monitor their every word in front of their home electronics. It is also genuinely creepy.”

As of Wednesday evening, Amazon’s Echo Look ($200) is available exclusively by invitation and customers can request an invite on the website.


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