Alexa’s Trojan Horse – Spotlight #268

Good Monday morning. It’s September 24th. This week’s other Senate hearings feature Google, Apple and Amazon executives testifying about data practices before the Senate Commerce Committee. That will be at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday. Not on the list: Facebook. Hearing details

Today’s Spotlight takes about 3 minutes to read.




  • Data privacy is going to be on everyone’s radar this week after reports about third party companies still able to scan Gmail for keywords.


  • The White House is considering an executive order instructing agencies to open probes into Google and Facebook practices, including those related to antitrust, according to Bloomberg reporting this weekend.


  • Digital (online) advertising now accounts for half of all advertising revenue according to a report from Magna, a market research arm of Big Four agency Interpublic.


Alexa’s Trojan Horse


Amazon cut prices on existing models of its home product lines as it launched a somewhat stealthy group of new appliances. Shoppers can now buy portable Echo speakers, an Alexa-equipped microwave, security system, and DVR.


  • Calling it a “Trojan horse”, The Verge smartly points out that the Amazon Basics microwave selling for $60 is “effectively a demo for Connect Kit in the form of a real microwave you can buy.” It’s a smart way to introduce Alexa into homes. Read more here.


  • If those smart devices aren’t to your liking, you might want to order an Amazon Christmas tree. The company promises to ship 7 foot Christmas trees within 10 days of them being cut down according to reporting from AP.


  • Amazon is continuing to decline to comment on reports that its third cashier-less convenience store is a harbinger of 2,000-3,000 more to open in the next three years.  Called Amazon Go stores, Supermarket News says there will be 7 more openings in the next three months.





  • Microsoft’s Windows 10 may soon tell users not to install Chrome or Firefox. The company is testing a “warning message” which consumers are free to ignore. They’re just not told that.


  • We told you in May about Facebook’s dating service. It’s now live in Colombia–its first test market.


  • A Harris Poll done for Pearson Education confirms that Gen Z (born 1995-2012) prefers visual social media (Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat) over traditional channels like Facebook and Twitter. It’s an excellent report for anyone who teaches, trains, or learns. PDF here.


Thanks for starting your week with Spotlight. Have a fantastic week. Don’t forget to send this to a friend or colleague so they can subscribe too.

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