California fires: smart speakers and emergency alerts

Aaron C. de Bruyn aaron at
Thu Jul 26 16:51:04 UTC 2018

On Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 9:14 AM Sean Donelan <sean at> wrote:

> Probably not a surprise, the product managers at Amazon and Google didn't
> see a benefit.  Instead of emergency alerts, instead the product
> improvement roadmap priority is on package tracking and delivery alerts :-)

I'm not aware of a public bug tracker/feature request feature for Google
Home, but the devices to support "Ok Google, feedback" (not sure about

Perhaps if people on this list gave them feedback about emergency alerts
they might be able to put an count to the people requesting the feature.

My opinion is it makes more sense to do emergency alerts at the smart
> device level (smart speaker, smart tv, smart streaming box) rather than at
> the content layer (hulu, netflix, spotify).

I agree.  My TV already automatically switches between Google and Amazon
devices automatically using some sort of HDMI trigger when one has a
notification--completely interrupting me if I'm watching something on the
other device.  I can only imagine how convenient it will be for the two
devices to fight back-and-forth for control of the display during an
emergency. ;)

Of course there's also the single-device question of: Will it work if I
don't have the Hulu app open?  Will Hulu run in the background and
preempt?  Will Hulu and Netflix start fighting for control because they
both have messages?

> There is a lot of opportunity to come up with better ways to notify people
> in ways they want, when they want, beyond tracking their package
> deliveries. And since its at the voluntary stage now, a chance to shape
> the discussion.

That's the whole reason I ditched Alexa.  All it would do is blink
constantly and notify me that ordered had been processed, then shipped,
then delivered (I know already, the UPS guy knocked), as well as constantly
misunderstanding me and then asking if I wanted to purchase some random
product based off the misunderstanding.

The NEST guys also didn't seem very receptive to the emergency alert stuff
when I contacted them.

Capitalist solution: Build yet another IoT device that just does emergency

Someone with free time should start a kickstarter or something.  I'd
totally chip in.


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