Which company created a new social network with millions of people overnight?

Answer: Amazon

by / July 20, 2017
The Amazon Alexa personal assistant speaks through the Amazon Echo, among other Amazon technologies. Flickr/MJZ Photography

For those who've invited any Alexa-enabled devices — like the Amazon Echo and Dot — into your homes, you may now be part of a new social network that is already enjoyed by some 10 million people.

How is this even possible? As Gizmodo's Kashmir Hill reports, it is "a unique aspect of being a consumer of the Internet of Things."

The things — in this case, the Echo and Dot — stay connected to the company they were purchased from — in this case, Amazon. Which means that Amazon can push out a software update and change the Echo and Dot into, well, something else.

"Overnight," Hill writes, "the Echo went from being a voice-activated Google search to a device that could be networked to a bunch of other devices."

This software update occured in May, when Amazon added features called "Drop in” and “Alexa calling and messaging,” both of which let users connect to other people’s Echo units.

While upon release there was no way to block people from calling your Echo, Amazon made updates this month to allow at least a little more privacy.