A Few Weeks Ago Amazon Announced Their Newest Alexa Based Product…Echo Look
I discovered this when I visited Amazon to reorder some vitamins…which I forgot to order btw. Because once I arrived I saw this:
Since I’m a huge fan of Alexa, Amazon Echo’s virtual assistant and I love fashion I got a little sidetracked. ‘But, no’ I thought, ‘who needs a camera powered by Alexa voice recognition to take my picture?’ I read on anyway and watched Amazon’s video. The video made some compelling arguments for why I need Echo Look. So I checked out the price tag…$200 and I decided I’d ask for it for my birthday.
Amazon’s Video Introducing Echo Look
I explain more about why I decided I really need it a little later. But first, I need to explain why I think this product will be HUGE!
Echo Look’s Primary Function is to Take Selfies
Let’s have a show of hands…who predicted selfies would become a world wide phenomenon. I know I didn’t! In fact I’m still truly puzzled about how and why selfies became such a social epidemic.
But they did!
In case it’s not obvious to you, I’m not a huge fan of selfies. That may be in part because I’ve never really mastered taking them. All I’ve mastered is the ‘looking in the mirror’ method shown below…usually taken with an iPad :-/
Above: Me trying to take selfies as I pack for a trip.
I know I should master taking selfies, because it couldn’t possibly be that hard. After all, everyone you see from kids to grandmas are taking them…and most people know how to take them without using their bathroom mirror! How hard could it be? But apparently it is pretty hard for someone who’s completely oblivious concerning what their best angle to be shot from is, as well as how to make those sexy facial expressions which make you look thinner and glamorous all at once.
It’s exactly because selfies have exploded onto the world scene that I predict the new Echo Look will become huge! Ironically, selfies aren’t even the new Look’s primary purpose.
Above: Kim Kardashian’s advice on cropping to perfection
Kim Kardashian’s Guide to Taking the Perfect Selfie (Marie Claire)
Kim Kardashian is known as ‘queen’ of the selfie. Interviewers frequently ask her how she does it. How does she take such amazing selfies? Marie Claire included her answers in a recent article which I made into a PDF you can download .
Echo Look Will Provide User’s with a Photographic Journal of all Their Outfits. That in and of itself is pretty cool for clothing obsessed women like me. Yet even that’s not its primary purpose!
Echo Look’s primary purpose is to provide women (and impliedly girls, who I suspect may end up being the most prolific user demographic for Look) with fashion advice! It’s unclear exactly what form this advice will take. It could be Amazon Echo software but there appears to be a human component to. This, for my purposes, isn’t the biggest selling feature.
Because frankly, fashion advice isn’t something I really need or want. I don’t want to sound arrogant…but I’m pretty confident that I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t. I’m also pretty confident in my ability to pick out the correct attire for any given situation…but I’m not the norm. The only reason I’ve arrived at my level of confidence is because I went to school for fashion design. Which hopefully explains my clothing obsession too.
Many women don’t share my confidence however. Many more don’t even know what looks good on them, because in general, that’s not an easy thing to figure out. I know, because I’m not great at helping other people figure that out either…it’s actually much harder than it looks. I’ve just been lucky because I’ve had years of concentrated practice with myself while in school. Unfortunately I’ve had much less experience with other people’s body types. I can tell when something does look good on someone else…but getting them to that point is difficult for me.
So, an Amazon Echo function that offers fashion advice to people 24/7 in the comfort of their own homes has the potential to be pure genius! Which is another reason I predict that Echo Look will be huge! Also, I think that this concept leaves room for future development. In my mind…the sky’s the limit. For example, how many years has the concept of virtual dressing rooms been kicked around…yet you never really hear of it taking off. With something like Alexa Echo home integration however, I think it’s not only possible but quite probable.
Below: Part of my fascination with Echo Look is the ‘hand’s free’ capability.
More About Why I’m In Love With the Concept of Echo Look
Every time we travel I spend inordinate amounts of time figuring out what outfits I should bring. First I have to figure out what fits me, because as every woman knows, we generally have at least 2 if not 3 entirely different wardrobes based upon our current weight. I call mine my skinny, medium or fat clothes. Once I have a basic idea of which of those categories might fit me then I have to try everything on with a bunch of different options to decide which combinations look best. Last I have to find the exact right accessories to enhance each ensemble.
After I have about twice as many outfits as is practical I need to start thinning things out because I won’t have enough room (or really my bags won’t meet the airline’s weight requirements) for everything I’d like to bring. For some reason this thinning out part is the absolute hardest for me. I keep thinking to myself…what if it’s cold…what if I run out of X types of clothing…what if, god forbid, I need to actually shop while I’m there! Not that I don’t love shopping…I do…sort of…but not under pressure and not when I desperately need one thing because that’s when I can never find that one thing.
It’s at this stage that Echo Look could really help me out. As part of the thinning process I take selfies, I guess you’d call them, so I can remember what’s supposed to go with what. I really think that Echo Look could be a huge time saver for me with this part!
The idea that I could just tell Alexa to take my picture and then turn around and take it again from the back, and have all those photos nicely stored and available at a moments notice is fantastic!
Below: I guess you’d call my pre-trip packing photos ‘selfies’
Why I Can’t Ask for Echo Look as My Birthday Present
I was pretty shocked when I realized that I couldn’t actually buy Echo Look yet. That’s because Amazon appears to be beta testing it first. They are only sending invitations to Prime members who request them…but requesting an invite doesn’t appear to guarantee that you’ll receive one. I did request one and received this in an email shortly afterwards:
The email I received from Amazon indicating they’d received my request for an invitation.
After a few weeks of waiting and further research to see if anyone has been invited to buy Echo Look yet…I found nothing online on the topic. If people are receiving invitations no one is talking about it. So I devised a method to contact the Echo department.
My Search for Inside Information About Echo Look
I had to call Amazon customer service about an unrelated matter. Since we have a new distribution center near us most of our Amazon orders are now delivered by the Amazon Logistics department. This is both good and bad. Oftentimes we now can get next day deliveries and sometimes even same day deliveries. But finding those deliveries can be challenging! The new Logistics team leaves packages anywhere and everywhere but at our door…and they never ring the doorbell first. So this was my 3rd time calling them to complain about finding packages in weird places that were soaking wet because they leave them in the rain without first placing them into a plastic bag. It can be challenging finding Amazon’s Customer Service phone number so here’s the one that always works for me.
How to Call Amazon
Customer Service •Amazon Logistics • Echo Support
The Amazon Customer Service Phone Number I Use is (866) 216-1072
If you Google it, Google now shows you a different number in the first search result
Google Search Result: (888) 289-4331
I always had to call Customer Service 1st and explain my problem before being routed to Amazon Logistics so the 3rd time I called I remembered to ask if Logistics has a separate number that I could call directly and they do.
Amazon Logistics Phone Number (877) 252-2701
The First Incorrect Inside Information I Was Given
The Logistic’s person I talked to was chatty so I asked her about Echo Look. She told me that everyone there is really excited about it but that no one really knows anything more about it than the general public. She said that the Logistics team was usually kept in the dark until after products were launched. But she seemed eager to want to help me out. So using Amazon’s internal computer network she figured out that in order to be invited to buy Echo Look you first needed to pre-order it.
I was beyond thrilled with that news! It explained why I hadn’t received my invite!
After hanging up I immediately went back to the webpage introducing Echo Look and tried really hard to find anywhere I’d missed about how I could pre-order it. Sadly, there was nothing…I couldn’t find any information on how to place a pre-order.
Above: You have to admit, Echo Look’s design is pretty great too.
How to Call Amazon Echo Support
A Few Tricks to Make Calling Echo Support Easier
This is the Number I Use (877) 375-9365
At least I’d remembered to ask for Echo Support’s direct phone number. That ended up being a good thing because that number is much harder to find. Furthermore I discovered that once I did find it, it’s not very easy to call and reach a live person either.
When you call (877)375-9365 the phone doesn’t even ring…you’re immediately greeted with a robotic sounding message stating that it needs to determine whether or not you’re really a human. It was more than a little jarring to immediately hear this robotic voice before the phone has even rung. Then, after I listened to the message there was nothing but silence afterwards. It took me three calls before I finally figured out that I needed to say “I’m human.” There were a few more moments of silence leading me to think that saying I was human wasn’t the solution, but then finally I heard the sound of a ringing phone faintly in the distance it seemed, but then I was connected to a real live support person!
Possibly An Easier Method
In the email I received after my phone conversation with Echo Look support I was given this link for their ‘Call Me’ Service. The link brings you to a webpage requesting that you enter your phone number into a box and then select from 2 options…either someone calls you immediately or someone calls you in 5 minutes. The first time I tried this I selected 5 minutes…but the call was placed immediately. I ran to answer it and got the robotic message…”this call is requesting a human.” I said I was human twice but it didn’t understand me…so I had to try it again. Second time was a no go too. I was using a corded headset with a microphone so the third time I tried to answer it without that and it worked…finally.
My 1st Echo Support Phone Call
The woman I spoke to was also very nice and was as eager to help as the Logistic’s employee, but she told me, somewhat sadly, that she really couldn’t enlighten me much more than the Logistic’s person had.
However we continued talking for a few minutes and it turned out she did have access to more information.
In the final analysis calling Echo Support did reveal 3 things that I hadn’t known before:
- First, I was told that the prior customer service person was correct about needing to place a pre-order but her timing was off. She said you do that only after you’ve been invited. She said that was the only time that pre-ordering was possible and that preorders were placed from a link supplied in the invitation.
- The 2nd thing I learned was that there have been some invitations already extended. But she didn’t know how many or what the future held for any more of them. She said generally there isn’t any consistent pattern to how these might unfold. But she also didn’t think they were looking for specific traits but rather that the selection process was a fairly random one.
- Last, she offered to send me some additional information I might not have seen or have had access to by email.
I received her email shortly after we hung up. I’ve copied the most interesting parts below:
Email from Echo Support
As we discussed, the procedure to select the candidates is random, however you can always request an invitation to be included on the wait list and Amazon will send you an email if selected or not selected; if you got chosen then in the email you can see the link to pre-order the device.
Also, these are some details about the product:
Echo Look is an entirely new category of device – the first artificially intelligent style assistant with Alexa that helps you look your best. Echo Look is a hands-free camera — simply ask Alexa to take a full-length photo or short video of your head-to-toe look, without using a smartphone camera or mirror.
Echo Look mobile app (see above)
In the Echo Look mobile app, you can see your outfit from any angle, get outfit inspired recommendations, easily share your look with close friends on Instagram, Facebook, via text and other social networks and use Style Check for an ‘on-the-spot second opinion’ on your look.
As part of the Echo device family, both Amazon Echo and Echo Look have access to the Alexa Voice Service and use far-field voice technology to hear your voice when you say the wake word (for example, “Alexa”). Use the wake word with Echo Look to play music, control smart home devices, and hear information, news, sports scores, weather, and more.
What is in the box?
- Echo Look device
- Echo Look screw-on base
- Power adapter 21W with 7.9 ft. cable
- Mounting kit: wall plate, screws, anchors, and instructions
- Quick Start Guide
- Things to Try card
I hope this solution works for you, however if you need further assistance or want to know more about Alexa please feel free to reach us directly via phone call through this link:
Visit Amazon’s Webpage That Announces Echo Look
Amazon’s Information About Echo Look
The following is taken pretty much verbatim from Amazon’s webpage…in case you’re not inclined to actually visit it yourself.
Introducing Echo Look—everything you love about Alexa, and now she can help you look your best
With Echo Look, you can take full-length photos of your daily look using just your voice. The built-in LED lighting and depth-sensing camera let you blur the background to make your outfits pop, giving you clean, shareable photos. Get a live view in the Echo Look app or ask Alexa to take a short video so you can see yourself from every angle. View recommendations based on your daily look and use Style Check for a second opinion on what looks best. And, because Alexa is built in the cloud, she’s always getting smarter—and so will Echo Look.
Features & Functions
- Take full-length photos or short videos so you can see a 360-degree view of your outfit. Use the app to create a personal lookbook, browse your outfits, and use computer vision-based background blur to make your outfits pop.
- Using just your voice, easily take full-length photos and short videos with a hands-free camera that includes built-in LED lighting, depth-sensing camera, and computer vision-based background blur.
- See yourself from every angle with the companion app. Build a personal lookbook and share your photos.
- Get a second opinion on which outfit looks best with Style Check, a new service that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists Echo Look helps you discover new brands and styles inspired by your lookbook.
- Ask Alexa to read the news and audiobooks, set alarms, get traffic and weather updates, control smart home devices, play music, and more.
Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Starbucks, Fitbit, NPR, and more.
Privacy Concerns About Echo Look
Rather than reinvent the wheel I’m just going to mention the fact that Echo Look presents huge privacy concerns any way you look at it, and provide links to the best coverage of this topic that I’ve found so far. Privacy concerns range from the simple matter of IoT devices generally having ZERO security to Alexa’s ‘always on and always recording’ utility…for sure privacy is a huge worry!
Setting privacy matters aside for one moment, here’s the thing…I still really want it! I think that if I want it this much, even though I believe I’m more sensitized to this issue than most people would be and that I really do fully understand all of the risks, I’m certain that many, many more people will want it too and that they won’t give privacy issues a second thought.
Public Reactions So Far
While there have been a ton of articles published about Echo Look…pretty much any and all online tech publishers have jumped on this story…very little has appeared that gauges responses of the general public so far. The most vocal group are members of meh.com…which appears to be a millennial Facebook alternative…oh, and they sell junk too. Below are some screenshots I took of user comments there.
I agree with the one person who wrote that this will probably be huge because they don’t think it will be…but obviously not for the same reason!
The only other real opinion piece I was able to uncover is this very short BBC news article that states ‘so far the reactions are mixed.’
What the Big Tech Publishers Think About Echo Look
Reactions here have been almost universally negative…because of Privacy concerns. Two of the best articles along those lines are:
One other article which on the face of it appears to be really negative based upon it’s title ‘The Echo Look is Amazon’s Trojan Horse‘ by Backchannel, really isn’t. In it they really offer some pretty optimistic insights I think, and predict a multitude of unanticipated uses will quite possible quickly follow Echo Look’s release.
I was pleasantly surprised to read this last article which came out a few days after all of the negative and cautionary ones did. It was only one which is really positive about matter’s of privacy. Computerworld’s How ‘Amazon Echo Look Will Improve Privacy This one article alone goes a very lone way towards dispelling any of the privacy concerns stated by all of the others.
Not only that, but Computerworld’s prediction agrees with my own…they predict that Echo Look will be huge!
One last reason I believe Echo Look is destined for greatness is because it’s Amazon. Not that many people are aware of Amazon’s position in the fashion industry…and I’m no expert. Even though we generally don’t order something online in our household unless Amazon carries it…because any other site would be too much effort apparently…I almost never order clothing from them. Socks and underwear…yes…but actual clothing…no. But wait…I really do!
It just dawned on me that one of my favorite online vendors for clothing is Zappos. If you don’t buy clothing from Zappos yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! You get free shipping both ways and 365 days to decide if you want to keep something! Literally no other clothing merchandiser in the world offers such lenient purchasing policies! And guess what…Amazon owns Zappos!
So to wrap things up here, while I’ve yet to receive my own invitation, I still think that Echo Look will, in all likelihood be ‘the next big thing’ if only for the reason that ‘selfie challenged’ baby boomers like myself desperately need it!
My Previously Undisclosed Selfie Album
Btw, I never publish pics of myself, and in fact have procrastinated about writing one very important post for over a year now because of my fear of this…so I’m biting the bullet and sharing this album of my selfies in the hopes that I can now get on with writing that very important post. If you’re interested it’s about how I went from long brown hair to short and grey (really white) in just 1 year’s time pretty painlessly. And yes, I do realize that my long procrastinated about post may not sound very important, but trust me when I tell you that it really, really is.
Why? Because a lot of women struggle with how to stop dyeing their hair and make the transition to grey without looking like a freak for the few years time it usually takes for their grey to completely grow out. Often this transition is harder for people with brown or red hair. Since grey hair is trending right now, and it’s so fashionable to sport grey…I need to publish it before these circumstances change.
The selfie album below is comprised of some of the photos I took to document my transition. The ones I’m sharing here represent only the best ones taken over roughly the span of one year. I know that they are pretty pathetic, which illustrates how beneficial Echo Look could have been, had it been available to me at the time I took these.
Below: Part of my ‘Going Grey’ documentation.
Question for My Readers
There’s one more thing I need to do before I overwhelm you with ‘additional resource links.’ I have one important question for my readers. Do you think if I sent this post to the Amazon Echo department that then they’d send me an invitation? As I mentioned above, in talking to them they explained that they aren’t privy to this secret selection process either. Because it’s not for sale yet, Echo Look is outside the realm of their department currently. They were unclear who actually does have jurisdiction over beta testing…but they seemed to think it was occurring currently. So please leave me a comment if you have an opinion on this…especially if you have any knowledge about the inner workings of the beta selection process…I’d be forever grateful.
You can leave comments for me and other readers, anonymously or not…by scrolling down towards the end of the page and looking for the little comment box :-)
Highlights of the World’s Obsession with Selfies
(In Reverse Chronological Order)
2017 Current Selfie Trends
Above: Curiosity the Mar’s Rover’s Selfie in 2012
While personally I couldn’t watch the video ‘How Curiosity Took a Selfie‘ I found in a 2012 volume of National Geographic Magazine…I did read the story. Curiosity, the Mar’s Rover pictured above, probably had no idea of the year-long planning effort it took to orchestrate making that selfie a huge success.