How to Lock Down Privacy on the Amazon Echo and Google Home

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gizmodo
( image GIZMODO)

Smart speakers are coming! Walk into our living rooms, listen to our voice commands, pull random bits from trivia photos from the web, mirror weather forecasts, and check out an increasing number of home appliances. But they always listen and at the moment it is difficult to know when they are not (apart from a blunt button). So how do you stop TV ads, young kids and stupid roommates to control your speakers and reveal your most intimate secrets?

There are almost as many corrections if it has to be, but take an hour and you can smart speakers in any case, do not share too much of your secrets even if you cannot stop listening to yourself.

Lock your privacy on Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo is a very smart-speaker, it can announce your calendar (Outlook calendar or Google), read your emails and order a pizza, depending on the skills you have configured to work with it.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to stop TV ads or your kids manage your echo and activate these features, but you can put blocks in place. (Amazon and Google claim that they work with tweaks not to let their speakers respond to televisions and radios.)

alexa
you can change echo’s wake word, though the options are limited. (Image Screenshot)

The first step is the easiest, but also the use of Echo is severely hampered. You can disable voice input via the mute button above the echo. It is not a fixed voice pirate, but it will work for advertisements.

Second, you can change the Alexa word clock in one of four different options: go to the Alexa Settings section, tap your device and select Wake Word. Again, not the safest lock in the world, but maybe enough to stop accidents.

Third, you can set up a PIN to protect unwanted purchases ordered by your children or those who want to order something from your Amazon account. Go to Purchase Voice Settings in the Alexa application in the menu and you can set a PIN or purchase voice completely. Each PIN you configure must be ordered to confirm a purchase by Echo.

pin code alexa
A PIN code will stop accidentally purchases. (Image Screenshot)

In addition to these steps, to prevent other people to make your calendar data from hearing or listings, all you do really do develop those skills. It is up to you where you can find the right balance between convenience and privacy, but hopefully there is individual speech recognition.

Some tips to help you: you can turn a sound notification to alert you when Alexa is listening (through sounds on the machine settings page), which can stop some unwanted commands. You can also choose History from the main settings page to see if there are voice commands you do not recognize. Just to make sure people do not go crazy with the Echo while you are away.

Lock your privacy on Home Google

Google is convenient, but feels as dangerous as Amazon Echo. It gives you access to a lot of personal information in your Google apps and services, including your calendar and package deliveries. Fortunately for the application of this article introduced the ultimate protection of privacy (at least in theory): voice recognition for several users.

Google Home set up to work with more than one Google account, open the Google Home app on your phone, tap the Devices icon (top right) and then the menu key for your home speaker (Three points): Choose Settings you should see a link to set access to multiple users. Otherwise, you have to sit tight and wait until the update reaches you.

Google home
Add new users through the settings for your google Home device. Image screenshot

The first tests suggest that it actually works well and it should be enough to find people from your upcoming schedule or read your emails (if Google is going to come around to add Gmail integration).

Other options are available if someone in your household can draw a very good impression of you. You cannot pass your alarm clock but as the Echo is a physical cut-off switch on the front of the device that can prevent TV commercials and toddlers from accidentally starting a search.

You can also turn off custom Google Home app results by clicking the Devices icon, then clicking the Google home page menu, and then clicking Settings. Press more and scroll down to find the option – once off, no one else can tap into your calendar, your photos to throw a Chrome cast, make payments using your Google account as well.

google home app
The google Home app does include a setting for personalized results. image screenshot

This is Google, you can vote for your recent search history on your Google Account page on the web. Click Go to My Activity and use the filter under the search box to search for assistant searches (which includes searches for any device that is compatible with Google Wizard). Like the echo, you can check a suspicious activity.

Should be enough the new Google Home Speech Recognition keep private and protect your private business from unwanted accidents. It is probably only a matter of time before the echo function also.

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