Amazon said the number of Alexa “skills,” the voice-powered apps created for Amazon’s virtual assistant, topped 80,000 worldwide in early 2019.

The number of Alexa skills in the United States more than doubled to 56,750 in January 2019 from 25,784 a year earlier, according to Voicebot.ai.  Alexa skill growth in the U.K. rose 233% to 29,910, while Germany’s skill count rose 152% to 7,869.

Number of Alexa Skills by Country, January 2019

US 56750
UK 29910
Canada 22873
Australia 22398
Germany 7869
Japan 2364
France 981

Source: Voicebot.ai

Google Assistant has “actions” as the apps that expand its capabilities beyond search.

Number of Google Assistant Actions in United States

January 2019 4253
January 2018 1719
October 2017 724
August 468
July 378
June 304
May 232
April 165

Source: Voicebot.ai

Google Assistant Apps by Category – January 2019

Category %
Education and reference 15.07
Games and fun 11.07
Kids and family 9.29
News and magazines 7.69
Home Control 6.91
Travel and transportation 5.60
Shopping 5.58
Business and finance 5.41
Arts and lifestyle 4.73
Health and fitness 4.25
Social and communication 4.03
Music and audio 3.83
Food and drink 3.50
Productivity 3.41
Sports 2.92
Music, photos and TV 2.76
Local 2.62
Weather 1.32

Source: Voicebot.ai

Chinese news agency Xinhua’s first female artificial intelligence (AI) news presenter signals a threat to human news readers.

Other reading:

The Fight to Be a Middle-Aged Female News Anchor: “The average age of the anchors who lost their jobs was 46.8, while their replacements averaged 38.1 years. In one case, the difference was more than two decades,” reporter Steve Cavendish writes in the New York Times.

Older women on US television send subliminal message, Gillian Tett writes in the Financial Times.

Fewer Americans rely on TV news; what type they watch varies by who they are, according to Pew Research Center.

% of U.S. adults who get news on each TV segment

2017 2016
Local TV 37% 46%
Network TV 26% 30%
Cable TV 28% 31%

Source: Pew Research Center

% of U.S. adults who get news often on each platform

2018 2016
TV 49% 57%
News website 33% 28%
Radio 26% 25%
Social media 20% 18%
Print newspapers 16% 20%

Source: Pew Research Center

Percentage of Streaming Viewers Who Use Another Subscriber’s Account

Group (Birth Years*) / Service Netflix Amazon Prime Video Hulu
Millennials (1981-1996) 18.1% 17.7% 20.0%
Generation X (1965-1980) 8.9% 12.7% 16.7%
Baby Boomers (1946-1964) 10.9% 19.5% 17.8%
Total 15% 16.5% 19.2%

Source: CordCutters.com survey of 1,127 people using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk; 50.9 percent of survey participants were men, and 49.1 percent were women. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 81 with a mean of 37 and a standard deviation of 11.9. Respondents were disqualified from the survey if they didn’t use a video streaming service.

*Birth years from Pew Research Center.

Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?

Source Total Percentage
Instagram 56%
Pinterest 53%
TV 48%
Facebook 46%
Fashion Magazines 36%
Snapchat 26%
Other 20%

Source: Fashion Path to Purchase Study by Facebook IQ, Qualtrics-fielded survey of 6,090 men and women ages 18-64 in US, UK, DE, FR, IT and ES. The data were adjusted by the number of monthly active users of that particular platform (October 2017).

The average cost of a U.S. wedding rose 1.6% to $33,931 in 2018 from a year earlier, according to wedding site The Knot.

Average number of guests: 136

Average Marrying Age: Women, 29.1; Men, 30.5

Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)

Average Engagement Length: 13.6 months

Most Popular Month to Get Married: September (18%)

Top 5 Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/Champagne (33%), Dark Blue & Burgundy/Wine (tie at 29%), Gold (27%) and Light Pink (23%)

Percentage of Destination Weddings: 23%

Top 25 Most Expensive Places to Get Married in 2018
1.  NY – Manhattan $96,910 (up from $76,944 in 2017)
2. NY – Long Island $66,409 (up from $61,113)
3. IL – Chicago $60,294 (up from $52,322)
4. Rhode Island $59,201 (up from $52,777)
5. MA – Cape Cod $58,425 (up from $55,083)
6. NJ – North/Central $58,107
7. NY – Westchester/Hudson Valley $57,678
8.  NY – NYC Outer Boroughs $56,967
9. NJ – South $47,148
10. Philadelphia/Delaware $46,640
11. CA – Santa Barbara/Ventura $45,991
12. MA – Boston $44,557
13. Connecticut $42,853
14. CA – Los Angeles $42,638
15. Southern Florida $42,596
16. CA – San Francisco/Bay Area $41,341
17. New Orleans $40,753
18. Washington DC/Northern VA/Suburban MD $39,801
19. CA – Palm Springs/Desert Communities $39,504
20. Baltimore $39,167
21. CA – Orange County/Inland Empire $37,760
22. Hawaii $37,338
23. IL – Chicago Suburbs $36,25
24. South Carolina $35,942
25. Houston/East Texas $35,334

Top 10 Most Affordable Places to Get Married
1. Idaho $16,366
2. West Virginia $17,997
3. Wyoming $19,395
4. South Dakota $19,515
5. Alaska $19,887
6. Arkansas $20,223
7. Utah $20,391
8. West Texas $20,541
9. Lansing, Michigan $20,861
10.  Oklahoma $20,935

2018 Average Wedding Budget Breakdown
Figures based on respondents who hired a professional vendor for the service.

Category 2018 National Average Spend 2018 High-Spender Spend (Wedding Spend $60K+)
Overall Wedding (with ring, excluding honeymoon) $33,931 $104,109
Venue (reception hall) $15,439

25% Spent $20,000+

$42,354
Photographer $2,679

34% Spent $3,000+

$5,123
Wedding/Event Planner $2,002

17% Spent $2,500+

$3,671
Reception Band $4,247

29% Spent $5,000+

$7,089
Reception DJ $1,292

27% Spent $1,500+

$2,373
Florist/Décor $2,411

34% Spent $2,500+

$5,936
Videographer $2,021

26% Spent $2,500+

$3,289
Wedding Dress $1,631

15% spent $2,000+

$2,991
Wedding Dress Accessories $250

25% spent $300+

$520
Groom’s Attire & Accessories $283

21% spent $300+

$430
Bridesmaids Dresses (each) $142

36% spent $150+

$197
Groomsmen Attire (each) $187

22% Spent $200+

$230
Wedding Cake $528

17% spent $750+

$993
Ceremony Site $2,382

36% spent $3,000+

$3,006
Ceremony Musicians $797

22% Spent $1,000+

$1,168
Invitations $386

28% Spent $400+

$1,038
Transportation $856

25% Spent $1,000+

$1,405
Favors $245

21% Spent $300+

$443
Rehearsal Dinner $1,297

23% Spent $1,500+

$3,305
Engagement Ring $5,680

28% Spent $6,000+

$13,619
Catering (price per person) $70

21% Spent $100+

$157
Officiant $286

27% Spent $300+

$491
Wedding Spend per Guest $258

24% Spent $300+

$576
Photo Booth $325

44% Spent $400+

$419
Morning-After Brunch $565

18% Spent $750+

$1,515
Makeup Artist (bride) $102

23% Spent $126+

$137
Makeup – Bridal Party (each) $82

16% Spent $100+

$99
Hairstylist (bride) $123

25% Spent $176+

$165
Hairstylist – Bridal Party (each) $79

16% Spent $100+

$105
Wedding Bands (brides) $1,078

11% Spent $2,000+

$1,983
Wedding Bands (grooms) $584

28% Spent $600+

$1,017

Source: The Knot 2018 Real Weddings Study

 

Con:

Amy Klobuchar, latest presidential candidate, faces questions about temperament, treatment of staff

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Mistreatment Of Staff Scared Off Candidates To Manage Her Presidential Bid

Staffers, Documents Show Amy Klobuchar’s Wrath Toward Her Aides

The ‘Worst Bosses’ in Congress?

Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign is doomed

Pro:

The Hidden Sexism Behind the Amy Klobuchar Reports

Klobuchar May Be a Bad Boss. That Shouldn’t Disqualify Her From the Presidency.

The Girlboss Ethos of Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar may be best equipped to send president packing

  • 124 million singles in the United States, according to MarketResearch.com.
  • The dating services industry is forecast to grow to $3.2 billion by 2020 from $2.5 billion in 2015.
  • IAC’s publicly traded Match Group is the market leader in online dating with $1.73 billion in yearly revenue, followed by eHarmony and Spark Networks.
  • Match Group’s  revenue grew 21 percent in 4Q 2018 to $457.3 million from a year earlier. The company’s brands include Tinder, Match, Meetic, OKCupid and Pairs. It acquired rival Plenty of Fish for $575 million, and also bought Meetic, OK Cupid, Yahoo Personals, Our Time and Tinder.
  • Match Group increased subscribership 17 percent to 8.2 million in 4Q 2018 from a year earlier. Tinder boosted subscribers 39% to 4.3 million in 4Q 2018 from a year earlier.
  • The first Sunday after New Year’s – dubbed “Dating Sunday” or “Singles Sunday” – is key because of the combination of potentially lonely holidays, recovering from a break-up, peer and family pressure, personal goals and the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Online dating search can go up 75 percent that day, USA Today reported.
  • On Singles Sunday, online daters are 17 percent more likely to get a match and 16 percent more likely to actually chat with that match, according to CNET.
  • Match Group predicted there will be a 69 percent jump in new singles coming to the app on Dating Sunday, according to Market Watch.
  • Tinder told Bustle that one Dating Sunday led to 44 million Tinder matches being made.  Dating Sunday is one of Bumble’s busiest days of the year, according to a statement from dating app Bumble to Global News.
  • Coffee Meets Bagel said the first week of January is the most popular time of year to sign up for an online dating service, and 11:30 p.m. is the peak hour for new member sign-ups.
  • More than 40 percent of online singles globally have used online dating apps or sites within the past month; around two-thirds of them are men, according to consumer research company GlobalWebIndex.
  • 3 in 4 online daters are under the age of 30.
  • Online daters describe themselves as risk-takers and they want to be seen as adventurous by others. These traits are more visible in younger online daters. The majority of online daters also agree that the internet makes them feel closer to people.
  • Online daters ages 18 to 30 are more likely to keep up with the latest fashion trends and visit movie theaters at least twice a month.