Been seeing a lot of stories lately debating whether Amazon’s Alexa, Echo, and Google Home are always listening. Do they take note of everything said? Are they collecting information about you to use it for targeting? Is it invading my privacy? What does this mean?
Well the answer is very simple. Yes. They are always listening. Otherwise the product wouldn’t work. Imagine you are sitting across from someone having a conversation. Your keyword to talk is, “Hey Dummy.” You can only hear the words “Hey Dummy” if you are listening to everything that person is saying. If you miss any of the words or selectively don’t listen, then how will you know you missed the “Hey Dummy” call to action to speak? You can’t. These devices work the same way.
In terms of collecting data what I can tell you is that your thoughts are extremely valuable. The potential to hear and act on your conversations and preferences and tendencies is a marketing dream come true. Why wouldn’t Amazon and Google want to hear you talking about vacations, or golf clubs, or no-pleat pants, or Thai food? Money and big business are on a hot streak. There won’t be any momentum for privacy legislation or regulations any time soon.
Maybe these products are innocuous. Decide whether they improve your life enough to have one. They just might. Technology improves the quality of life without question. In all sorts of ways. I don’t think there is a vast conspiracy to listen in on everyone. Yet. But if you buy one of these things and don’t think it is always listening then you are being naive.