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Photo: Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images

More Americans own a smart speaker than ever before and the devices are also seeing an increase in usage, according to a survey from Adobe, results of which were shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: Smart speakers and displays not only represent a new frontier for computing, but also could shift the balance of power in search and advertising, as Google faces tough competition from category pioneer Amazon.

By the numbers:

  • 39% of respondents said they own a smart speaker, up from 36% in February 2019 and 28% in January 2018.
  • Among those who do own a smart speaker, 46% said that they used the devices' voice assistants more often during the three-month period from April through July than they had previously.
  • Listening to music remains the most popular use (reported by 60% of survey respondents), followed by asking about the weather (55%), "asking fun questions" (46%) and searches (45%).
  • Roughly 39% of people said they used their smart speakers for each of the following: basic information queries, checking the news, and setting reminders or alarms.

Between the lines: We still don't know how quickly smart speakers will take off as an advertising platform, or how effective such ads are.

To that end, Adobe said that 51% of those surveyed said they have heard an ad on their speaker, double the number that said so in May 2019. Of those who are hearing ads, 85% said they hear them at least weekly.

  • 58% of consumers find smart speaker ads to be less intrusive than other major formats (TV, print, online, social). That's up from 43% in May 2019.
  • Similar majorities say they find speaker ads more engaging and more relevant to their needs and interests.
  • 53% reported that a smart speaker ad eventually drove them to make a purchase, up from 39% in May 2019.

Go deeper

Series / Misinformation age

Platforms give pols a free pass to lie

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Over the past week, Facebook and Twitter have codified a dual-class system for free speech: one set of rules for politicians or "world leaders," another for the rest of us.

Why it matters: Social media platforms are privately owned spaces that have absorbed a huge chunk of our public sphere, and the rules they're now hashing out will shape the information climate around elections for years to come.

15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate offices closing on Friday ahead of pro-Capitol riot rally

Security fencing outside the U.S. Capitol ahead of a planned "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C.. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Multiple Senate offices are planning to close Friday amid security concerns around Saturday's rally in support of jailed Jan. 6 rioters, a series of senate aides who were told to work remotely on Friday tell Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol this weekend will face its first large-scale security test since the deadly Jan. 6 attack. In the meantime, House and Senate offices are taking precautionary measures to ensure their staff remains safe.

State Department partners with aid group welcoming Afghan refugees to U.S.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14. Photo: Mandel Ngan/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Thursday that the State Department is partnering with Welcome.US, an aid group helping to welcome and support Afghan refugees who fled their country for the U.S.

Why it matters: The partnership is part of the Biden administration's Operation Allies Welcome, which involves the processing and resettlement of the more than 65,000 Afghans evacuated during the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.