During its virtual launch event Tuesday for the, Amazon unveiled a new facial recognition feature for the smart home device. Called Visual ID, the feature is designed to let Alexa show you personalized recommendations, calendars, to-do lists and more when your face is captured by the camera. It's supported on the Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen), the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), and the new Echo Show 15.
Amazon says that because the AZ2 chip can process what the camera is seeing, all the computer vision processing happens on the device, without any data being sent to the cloud. Visual ID is optional and turned off by default. You'll have to opt in and enroll your facial profile to use the feature. This profile won't be sent to any other devices, the company says.
Amazon's use of facial recognition technology in its other smart home products has seen pushback from privacy advocates. In December 2019, thousands of Amazon Ring users', leading us to stop recommending Ring products. (Ring's approach to privacy has drawn heavy criticism in the past two years. For more, read this by CNET's David Priest.) Ring has since updated its security policies, mandating two-factor authentication, adding end-to-end video encryption and introducing CAPTCHA and authenticator app support.