Today, with one of my daughters, I was playing around with both the Google Home Mini and the Amazon Echo. While I’ve had both these devices (along with others) in my office for as long as they’ve been available, using them together at home has been a different experience.
First, I have a name problem. Despite using mnemonics, the issue for me is the speed of reading back the name. Even among family members, I can call them the wrong name if rushed too quickly. I’ve had some embarrassing moments among co-workers because of this deficiency.
I’ve noticed that the issue presents itself again in calling out both the Alexa and Google Assistant and the result can sometimes be akin to mashing too many keys at once in a type writer. I end up needing to say “Alexa, Stop! OK Google, Stop!”.
Both Amazon and Google have easter eggs referring to the other device — Amazon takes a snootier “I don’t have an opinion on that” tone vs Google’s hug-of-death type compliments of Alexa’s abilities.
For instances when the two devices are within proximity and can interfere with each other, there a few quick ideas. But first, a quick demo of the latest hobby of getting Echos and Homes to talk:
First, both devices have the ability to learn trigger words for specific users. Why not ignore the trigger if it comes from Google Assistant or Alexa’s speech synthesis? If they can’t do that, at least they can shut down the interaction on post processing of the STT result and identifying the voice of Alexa or Google Assistant.
What might be more terrifying is that Google or Amazon could have the capability of mass surveillance of each other’s devices if they’re on the same network. They could also use Bluetooth to identify each other. Amazon could be studying any of the traffic coming from the Google Home and how it varies by IP address. Echos could be sniffing for the same traffic. Google could also be monitoring this through Google WiFi.
Taken to the extreme, could home networks with both devices become battle grounds for AI’s against each other?