Forget the Alexa-Powered Toilet. The Big Local News at CES is the Amazon Echo Auto

This post is the latest in our “Beyond the Screen” series. It will be an editorial focus for the month of January, and you can see the rest of the series here


Among new hardware stealing the show at CES is a slew of voice-related devices from Amazon and Google. While it may be the Alexa-powered toilet dominating water-cooler conversation this week, the real device to look out for is Amazon’s Echo Auto, an Alexa-powered, voice-activated product that will provide all the utility of Alexa, and connections to other voice-activated devices, from the dashboard of buyers’ cars.

The device, which can be requested for just $25 and is available to a limited number of consumers now, has already been requested a whopping one million times—and counting, Mashable reported. This is among the strongest proof yet that connected cars—the new shopping and advertising modality wherein drivers engage with marketing content and make purchasing decisions on the road—are an inevitable reality, not only because the tech is there but also because consumers are clamoring for it.

This is game-changing technology for local search and retail technology because voice as a shopping and advertising modality is at its strongest when consumers are on the move, summoning a use case for technical interfaces that don’t require typing or staring at screens.

As we reported earlier this month and Street Fight lead analyst Mike Boland wrote in a white paper last year (download that here), voice will dovetail with the increasing importance of ranking first in local search to change the SEO game in years or even months to come. Connected cars, and the millions of Alexa-powered auto devices making them a reality, will play a central role in that local shift.

Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Follow him on Twitter @joe_zappa, and shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.
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