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  • 06.01.16

Amazon has more than 1,000 people working on Echo and Alexa

During an interview at Recode‘s Code Conference in Southern California Tuesday night, Walt Mossberg suggested that Amazon had pioneered and popularized the AI home assistant category with its Echo product, and that Google is now trying to capitalize on that success with its newly announced Google Home. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos chose not to comment.

Bezos did say that AI has become a big deal at Amazon, and that the company now has more than a thousand people working on Echo and its voice-responsive brain, Alexa. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was given a chance to respond to Mossberg’s point on the same stage Wednesday morning: “We’ve been doing it a lot longer,” he said. (See his full comments.)

AI and machine learning are now central to Google’s future, Pichai said this morning. “About three to four years ago, we felt that we were at an inflection point. It was a big shift internally.”MS