Top critical review
The entire Echo system has changed for the worst...
September 19, 2019
I changed my review from 5 stars to 1 star because of a software update that now forces me to specify which light, power strip, and/or other devices I want to turn on/off. All of my rooms, lights, power strips, etc... are in various groups for a reason. Each light, outlet, and other devices have a unique name (IE: The upstairs hallway lights are named UH-Light, UH-Light2, and UH-Light 3, my smart power strip has unique ports like TV, Monitors, etc..).
YESTERDAY (9/18/2019) I was able to walk into a room and say "Alexa, turn the light on" (in my home office for example) and it turns the light on, Today (9/19/2019) I'm sitting in my home office and I say "Alexa turn the light off" and I get the response "There are multiple devices that share that name, which one do you want".
The master bedroom - Setup with only lights (MBR-light, or something like that so I can identify it later when adding other stuff), the wife used to say "Alexa, turn the light off" because that's what she has always said before going to sleep. Today she can't do that because of Amazon's development team.
So I say "Alexa turn the office light off" and it turns the ENTIRE OFFICE GROUP OFF. So now I have to go to the app to turn the light off.
I reached out to Amazon customer support who tells me I have to be specific when asking the echo to turn the light off as in "Alexa, turn the office light off/on" and that it has always been this way. When I tried to tell them that yesterday I was able to say "Turn the light off" they said it wasn't possible and I have always had to be specific.
I set up groups for a reason, that being I can go into a room, say "Alexa, turn the light on" without having to remember each light bulb name or what I named the room/group. Yes, I know what the group names are, I don't expect everyone in my house to remember the group names.
There was a software/firmware update overnight that broke all of my Echo's and Amazon's customer support will not acknowledge it.
I will not recommend this device to anyone else until they put it back to the way it was.
Update 9/20/2019 - Amazon Customer support says I have to be specific when telling it which light to turn on, but the Help section of the Alexa APP says:
"You can also add your Alexa-Enabled device to a smart home group and control without having to remember the group name. For example, to control the lights in the "Living room," you can say:
* "Alexa, Turn on the lights"
* "Alexa, set the lights to blue"
* "Alexa, dim the lights"
Update 10/23/2019 - Amazon still hasn't fixed the problem, I still cannot say "Alexa, turn the light off" like I was able to do since I set up my first echo. It's probably been 2 years now (maybe only one, I don't remember exactly). I still haven't heard from Amazon tech support, I haven't heard from Customer support, come to think of it, I only hear from Amazon when they don't deliver on time and I have to call them about something else. They were advertising it as a selling point on their echo devices. As long as you have an "echo" device in the room you are in and it's in a group with the same echo, you should be able to say turn the light off...
After watching some videos, I am more tempted to scrap all of my Echos and move to Google Home assistant because Amazon just isn't keeping up with the other stuff Google is doing.
Just like Apple, Amazon is more worried about putting out new products rather than fix their current products.
YOU'RE FAILING AMAZON! YOU'RE FAILING.
Update 12/15/2019 - So they fixed the "Alexa, turn the light off" for a few days, then it was broken again... Now they've changed the APP so it's more difficult to find the voice responses to give feedback. I tried saying "Alexa, turn the light off" got the same response as before "There are multiple devices with the name light, which one did you want" If I say "Alexa, turn the office light off" it still turns EVERYTHING IN THE OFFICE GROUP OFF" but Amazon customer support can't seem to get it when I explain that it shouldn't do that. So, like the APP says, I tried saying "Alexa, turn the lights off" it responds with "Sorry, what device" but I can't say "Alexa, turn the office lights off" because it will turn all of the plugs off too, so now Alexa has no voice control over lights if there is anything else in the room.
I feel as if I have wasted hundreds of dollars setting this system up for Amazon to come along and ruin it all...
Amazon, you should fire your developers and hire people who will do it correctly.
Update 1/15/2020 - The problem still isn't fixed, I've gone through ALL of my devices to make sure NOTHING says "light" in the name, but when I say "Alexa, turn on the light" in a specific room, I still get the message "A few things share the name light, which one do you want". Overall the echo system is fine and does most of the stuff I want it to, but I simply want to say "Alexa, turn the light on/off" without having to specify which one I want because if I say "Alexa, turn the office light off" or "Alexa, turn the light in the office off" IT STILL TURNS THE ENTIRE OFFICE GROUP OFF.
I would love to return all of these echo devices and start with something else because this is so frustrating, but I don't want to have to learn anything else, I know, that sounds lazy AF but honestly, I spent a lot of time getting this just right and then the programming changed in the way Alexa hears and interprets your request. I've attached a video to this one so everyone can see what I"m talking about, granted you don't see much because I"m holding the ipad a little closer to the echo but you can see the monitors that are attached to smart plugs turn on and off when I ask it to turn the "Office Light" off. I get the same thing (everything in the office turns off) if I say "Turn the light off" and alexa responds with "There are a few things that share the name light, which one do you want?" and then I respond with "The office Light".
I do not want to put everything in a different group and leave the light in the "Office" group because I shouldn't have to, it worked perfectly for years and then out of the blue it stopped working on 9/17/2019 and didn't work on 9/18/2019.
I"ll update again at a later date if anything changes.