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

(Virtually) No one should ever own an Echo or any other "voice assistant" product

If you buy one of those intrinsically insecure, always-on "smart speakers" from Google, Amazon, Apple or other players, you're installing a constantly listening presence in your home that by design listens to every word you say, and which is very likely to suffer at least one catastrophic breach that allows hackers (possibly low-level dum-dums like the ransomware creeps who took whole hospitals hostage this year, then asked for a mere $300 to give them back because they were such penny-ante grifters) to gain access to millions of these gadgets, along with machine-learning-trained models that will help them pluck blackmail material, credit card numbers, and humiliating disclosures out of the stream of speech they're capturing. Read the rest