The Water Cooler – Amazon Echo or Google Home Devices – Do You Have One?

October 11, 2017 12:00 pm · 37 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

Do you have an Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home device? If so, how do you like it? If you don’t, do you plan to get one in the future?

Talk about it….

FAA October 11, 2017 at 12:25 PM

No and not in the near future…

Sick of it October 11, 2017 at 12:29 PM

Not sure how comfortable I d be having that in my house and them being able to listen in at any time. Removes a lot of privacy from the house.
All that is said in the house around it is heard by it.

Jerk October 11, 2017 at 12:30 PM

No. Will not have another spy device (although all of these spy devices NEVER seem to work as intended by the CIA, NSA, DHS, FBI).

Rob October 11, 2017 at 12:33 PM

Not yet – but looking forward to most likely the Google but I have friends with the Echo and they love that device.

Rob October 11, 2017 at 12:34 PM

For anyone concerned about a microphone in the house – if you have a smartphone you already carry a device with a microphone that is listening for key phrases if it’s enabled on the phone.

Pony October 11, 2017 at 12:39 PM

Nope and nope. If someone told you they were going to bug your home and listen to everything said and done within, people would be raising holy hell about invasion of privacy, big brother, etc. So why do I want to spend money to invite them to do this. Somewhere in the bowels of Google and Amazon everything being said in your house is being compressed and saved to be retrieved if needed.

Lambie October 11, 2017 at 12:39 PM

I might have one. I think you can use the Amazon Fire like an Echo. I haven’t tried to use it that way.

To purchase one would be a luxury, not a necessity.

Lambie October 11, 2017 at 12:41 PM

Smart TVs can listen too 😉

Nick October 11, 2017 at 12:42 PM

Nope, and likely never will in the near future, don’t care for automation and the loss of jobs it creates, and also the fact they have an always on microphone and speaker in my house that listens to everything we say. I’m not a lazy ass, I can write stuff down and look stuff up on my own, IMO useless device and not worth any money.

JazzMan October 11, 2017 at 12:52 PM

@#2. Conspiracy nut? Yes? It can’t hear you unless you use the activation word, so I’m confident. I have the Amazon dot. Use it to turn lights on/off in LR & BR. Will use it for thermostat soon. Play music, games, Check weather, traffic, tell jokes (my son), search for alligators (son again), and many other things. Haven’t used it to order stuff yet (pizza, Amazon stuff, etc).

Original G October 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Don’t have them and don’t see a need to have one. In order for them to function they are listening at all times unless disabled. Read user agreement and privacy disclosure before buying.

From a couple of years ago.

“High-end models of Roomba, iRobot’s robotic vacuum, collect data as they clean, identifying the locations of your walls and furniture. This helps them avoid crashing into your couch, but it also creates a map of your home that iRobot could share with Amazon, Apple or Google.”

You might end up getting advertising for furniture.

After the Equifax breach of a company supposedly concerned about you and your credit score.

Hacking is already way too prevalent, then there are bored or curious authorized employees snooping.
“Hospital Employee Discovered to Have Improperly Accessed 6,200 Patient Records”

The Reasonabilist October 11, 2017 at 1:02 PM

Yes, I have both.

I like them but they haven’t reached their full potential yet. It’ll be better when the third party developer API improves and we can start seeing “apps” for these devices that are actually decent.

And yes, it is a bit of a weird idea to be literally placing microphones throughout your house. It’s a serious concern that consumers should be aware of. But as Rob said above, we already have microphones in our phones, tablets, and some desktops/laptops. While the microphones are not “always on” like a Google Home or Amazon Echo, they could be compromised by hackers. The microphones can then be turned on in the background unbeknownst to you. Just search Google for “Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed” if you want a quick and interesting read about this. This is why Mark Zuckerberg keeps a piece of electrical tape over his laptop’s built-in camera. Anyway, that’s all paranoia. Don’t read into it too heavily but we are totally living in an era where cyber attacks are as real as ever before – both privately and politically.

It’s important to recognize that Amazon and Google are for sure collecting data on you. That’s no secret anymore. They use it to curate ads that are specifically made for you. That’s their business model.
But keep in mind that the voice data they collect when you use their devices are encrypted and never seen by human eyes/ears. As far as we know. I like to believe they take it very seriously though because as soon as a leak comes out that malicious 3rd parties compromised some devices and are listening to you through these devices OR that the data they collect is being decrypted and sold to third parties… they lose public trust and these products and business plans may ultimately fail.

TOB October 11, 2017 at 1:29 PM

Maybe some of you should so at least someone listens to you. 🙂

Fred October 11, 2017 at 1:37 PM

I never like to be an early adopter of any tech. Besides I’m not really sure what these devices do that I even want.

Benjamin Beckwireds October 11, 2017 at 1:54 PM

I have an Echo. I renamed it “Computer”.
If you’re worried about devices listening in on your conversations, check your refrigerator, washing machine and thermostat.

Lambie October 11, 2017 at 1:58 PM

I don’t have anything interesting to listen to, but maybe criminals should be aware when planning activities. It might be helpful to solve crimes too 😉

The Reasonabilist October 11, 2017 at 2:03 PM


Hmm I thought I was pretty unbiased. I didn’t say it was foolproof and I did point out all of the risks that people are taking for the sake of a luxury product.

Society gave up privacy a long time ago when social media became mainstream. There’s really not much you can do about it anymore except follow along so you don’t become out of touch. I guess this is more important to me than you because I’m a computer programmer by profession and I want to follow what is trending or the “next big thing” in tech.

Simonpure October 11, 2017 at 3:04 PM

I tried to join a paranoid anonymous group once but they wouldn’t tell me where the meetings were held.

Strad October 11, 2017 at 3:17 PM

Simonpure: that’s because nobody shows up.

Anon October 11, 2017 at 3:18 PM

We have 3 of those. Love them. We have nothing to hide (boring old people). I do like knowing how long my commute is, and being able to add things to a shopping list as soon as it pops into my head by just speaking.

Great for music or even white noise for babies (we recently found out).

If you are paranoid, hopefully you don’t have any tech (wait – you’re on a computer or phone reading this, probably have wi-fi – better watch out in case someone is listening / watching / hacking you!).

Or, have nothing to hide and enjoy technology!

Original G October 11, 2017 at 3:37 PM

From earlier in the year had to go search to find it again.
“Alexa, are you connected to the CIA?”

An for those that might need one how to make a tin foil hat.

Eudamonia October 11, 2017 at 4:26 PM

I boycott Amazon and choose other companies. We use Google Chrome and love the ability to cast our favorite shows.

never October 11, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Never, too much privacy issues. Did asny of you read the article about the google speaker eavesdropping on its users already, recording ans saving tghe audio.

SmileWC October 11, 2017 at 5:12 PM

I have the Amazon Echo Dot – I enjoy it – use it as an alarm clock/radio – weather channel – getting sports scores, wiki information, etc. I know it can do a lot more than I challenge it to do. It’s a fun item to own and the dot is rather inexpensive – I suspect it will be a popular gift this season.

KAD October 11, 2017 at 5:12 PM

No I do not have one and have no desire to have one. People must have money to spend on luxury items. Hope they have saved enough for retirement.

Dorothy October 11, 2017 at 5:31 PM

No and don’t plan to either.

Silva October 11, 2017 at 6:16 PM

Never heard of it.

macawlady October 11, 2017 at 6:18 PM

I don’t know. Ever since I saw a video of a friend’s parrot who had made a shopping list on Alexa, I can’t help wondering. Would my parrots do the same thing? If a ton of parrot food gets delivered, well….we know who did it.

Julio October 11, 2017 at 6:52 PM

NO Apple NO Google and NO plan to ever get one.

Atticus Thraxx October 11, 2017 at 7:02 PM

Neither and never. You could pay me a monthly fee and I still wouldn’t take one. They contain or possibly are the source of, evil spirits caught between billing periods. Or between this world and the next. Whatever.

Giddyup October 11, 2017 at 7:03 PM

Just as baby monitors can be used for surveillance of your infant, they can be used for surveillance of anyone in the house. Cameras are now the size of a screw head. Baby monitors can be used to monitor a senior, surreptitiously. Children’s toys now listen and respond and some have reported their intrusive habits. These monitors can listen in, watch you, and as some have reported, communicate with you if they so desire. One woman reported that one day a man’s voice began speaking by to her through the baby monitor. The Echo, the Google Home, are constantly listening in, waiting for your instructions, and if you use the “Hey, Siri” function on your IPhone, it is listening in, as well. I don’t know what twisted, hopeless, lonely individual would even be interested in the intimate, personal details of another’s life, but I find it utterly appalling that anybody has the time or intention to annoy another human being this way.

Giddyup October 11, 2017 at 7:21 PM

You only have to be reading on your smartphone once or twice when the forward-facing camera activated by a hacker pops onto the screen in front of you with a totally unflattering image of you unkept, no makeup, hair dirty and uncombed, in your ripped, barely-covering-you jammies for you to tape over the forward-facing camera. I’ve had it happen … repeatedly. It’s not a good feeling. Or, have the flash and shutter snap a photo when you’re sitting down to pee across from a mirrored wall. There are some sick people out there with nothing better to do in life. Wasted human potential.

tulaby October 11, 2017 at 8:16 PM

yes, and I enjoy it. its not a life changer.

Aspirin October 11, 2017 at 8:35 PM

I’m pouring my Morning Coffee (Peet’s House Blend Whole Bean) and I’ll say: “Alexa, play KQED” or “Alexa, play classical piano” or ask for just about anything and -voila!- there it is.

Alexa is on it !

ConcordMike October 11, 2017 at 9:02 PM

Spot on Simonpure. That’s hilarious.
“Alexa… Why is everyone so paranoid?”

AnonZ October 12, 2017 at 8:52 AM

I have the Tap. Love it.

Looks like we need more tin foil here at Claycord. I can’t believe how paranoid so many of you are and how many of ou already have many devices that can spy on you. BHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA

Joe October 12, 2017 at 9:07 AM

I like the way Alexa controls my A/C and car charger.
I just don’t plan my bank jobs were it can hear me!


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