EFF tells the Copyright Office: we don't know how to make voice assistants better, but here's how not to make them worse

Every three years, the US Copyright Office asks for proposals for exemptions to Section 1201 of the DMCA, which bans breaking DRM; in 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation won a broad "jailbreaking" exemption to modify the firmware of phones and tablets; this year, we're asking for that permission to be extended to smart speakers like Alexa/Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePods, and the smaller players in the market. Read the rest

85-year-old Italian grandmother tests out Google Home

With the price tag at just $29, it's pretty safe to assume many people got Google Home Mini as gifts this holiday season. The always-listening, voice-activated "smart speakers" are just waiting for a command. That command starts with either "Ok Google" or "Hey Google."

It's easy enough for most of us to operate but what about for non-native English speakers? What about for people who don't keep up with the latest technology?

For Redditor Ben Actis' thick-accented octogenarian grandmother, it was a matter of barking "Hey Googoo," and excessively tapping on it. At one point, she actually gets it to tell her the weather and Google Assistant's female voice scares her a little. Read the rest

Report: Google to introduce Amazon Echo competitor device called 'Google Home'

Anonymous sources quoted in the New York Times and elsewhere today said Google will introduce a competitor to Amazon's Echo on Wednesday. Its long-anticipated entry into the voice-activated home device market is said to be named Google Home.

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