Alexa Has A Terrible Memory

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of comments and questions on discussion boards that reveal there’s some confusion about memory where the Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices are concerned.



Echo, Dot and Tap Are Streaming Devices Only
One of those recent questions I saw was, “How do I delete an audio book from my Echo, like I can on my Kindle Fire?”

The answer is that you can’t, and in fact you don’t need to, because none of your content is being stored on the Echo, Dot or Tap. When you ask Alexa to read a Kindle or Audible book, play music or a podcast, that content is streaming live from a server to the device. The content remains on the server the whole time, it’s only being broadcast to your device over a secure cloud connection.

While the specifics of the situation aren’t clear, this particular Echo owner seemed to be frustrated that the usual “read my book” command was re-loading a book she’d already finished. The solution to that problem is to specify the book you want in your request by title. In other words, instead of, “[wake word], read my book,” go with, “[wake word], read [book title].”


Alexa Can’t Take Notes or Reminders
Alexa may be able to add entries to grocery and to-do lists, set alarms and make calendar entries, but each of those items is actually being stored on either Amazon’s or Google’s servers. Alexa is merely acting as a messenger, “telling” Amazon and Google to update your files on their servers, then fetching that information when requested. Alexa isn’t remembering any of it, and none of it is being stored in any kind of local memory on your Alexa enabled device.

This is why it’s not possible for Alexa to take dictation from users who want to create short notes or reminders for themselves or other household members. There would have to be an outside program on a server somewhere that can receive Alexa’s message, store it, then fetch it on request and send it back to Alexa to be read to the user. As of this writing, there is no such outside program, service or skill for doing this.



Is A New Alexa Device With Onboard Memory Coming?
Maybe. There are rumors that some kind of Tap/Dot hybrid is in the works, and that it will include a memory card slot so users can have the device play audio content directly rather than via a Bluetooth or streaming connection. But as per usual, Amazon is remaining tight-lipped on the matter. Since Amazon typically releases new devices in the fall, we shouldn’t have to wait long to find out.


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