Amazon buys company to make Alexa's fact-finding visuals smarter

Whether you're asking how many cups there are in an ounce, or the capital city of some far flung country, Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, as found in its Echo speakers and Fire tablets, is surprisingly adept at reciting the information you need.

But with the launch of the Echo Show, the screen-packing variant on the smart speaker range, it's now got to make that information visual too.

Amazon may have found the answer in its latest purchase, Graphiq. Picked up for around $50 million back in May but only coming to light now, according to LA Times, the company makes interactive visualisations based on a user's searches, with a deep knowledge graph tapping into many corners of the web.

Showing what you need

While neither company has spoken widely on the details of the purchase, it seems a perfect match for the audio-driven capabilities of Alexa. Graphiq's ability to pair a search with a visual breakdown of facts and info makes it well suited to an Amazon range increasingly pairing audio feedback with visual cues.

The potentially interactive nature, if converted into Alexa's new card format, would allow Amazon to dig deeper into a user's tastes too, watching the tangents they follow to better serve products of interest up for purchase. Graphiq's product comparison capabilities would be particularly useful here.

Graphiq has more than 100 employees, the expectation now being that many will transition over to Alexa projects.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.