back to article Google slaps Siri with Assistant and Amazon with Home device

Google is getting into the digital helper game with the launch of Assistant, a Siri-style online helper, and promised Google Home – an Echo-like listening station that can be used to house the helper. CEO Sundar Pichai explained that Assistant was the result of ten years of language processing by the Chocolate Factory. Over …

  1. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    An open mic to listen to every single thing said in my home, after all of the Snowden revelations concerning Google???

    No effing way.

    1. Martin 47

      Not got a phone, tv, pc etc in your house then?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        TV - yes. Has it got a microphone? Don't care coz it ain't connected to the intenet.

        PC - Yes - Has it got a microphone? Well not unless I plug it in

        Phone - Yes but it is a dumb phone with no apps or internet connection

        Do I want to give Google my life? That what these things will do. If you don't care that Google gets to know you, your life, what you do (yes including that), what TV your watch/stream, who you talk to even face to face then go ahead and use this shite.

        The rest of us will get on with out lives without feeding the Google Machine.

        Everything they do these days seems to bring them more and more into line with the evil machine depicted in 'Person of Interest'. If this carries on Alphabet will have an electronic file on everyone in thr world. Do you really want that?

        I don't.

        I stopped using any Google product/service last year and do not intend to go back.

        1. Chands

          Re: Well...

          I personally enjoy all the benefits of Google mining my data.

          The ONLY problem here is not Google having your data, assuming everything they do is for nefarious reasons. It's just trust.

          Honestly, where you do think we will be in 100 years ? Still harbouring our own data, cuddling it with both arms shouting 'la la la la not listening'.

          It's progress.

          1. VinceH

            Re: Well...

            I'll be amazed if I'm still here in 100 years - but if I am, I would be doing my best to ensure that shout won't be "la la la la not listening" but "la la la la you can't hear me".

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      'Allo, 'Allo


      Google will listen very carefully

      1. Warm Braw

        Re: 'Allo, 'Allo

        Well, if you have to say it more than once it's not a great advert for the technology

    3. tacitust

      Get used to it, because voice is coming and will be here to stay, along with the connectivity it requires.

      If you don't want to live in a surveillance state, refusing to adopt new technologies isn't going to help one iota. The greatest surveillance states in history didn't have any high tech gadgets, all they needed was a government with the will and power to oppress anyone who sought to oppose them. The same holds true today. The fight against totalitarianism isn't fought in the social media forums of high tech companies, it's fought at the ballot box, and in countless local, regional, and national government forums and venues nationwide.

      1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit


        "If you don't want to live in a surveillance state, refusing to adopt new technologies isn't going to help one iota."

        Yes it is, and I'll allow you to conflate 'state' with 'multinational global enterprises' because the refusal helps in both cases.

        The state has proven they are willing to break into any equipment we own and use it to spy on us whether we are guilty or not. I'm not advocating giving up internet access, mobile phones, home computers etc but if we did refuse to adopt these technologies the state would not be able to use them to spy on us. Your statement that it isn't going to help one iota is false.

        Multinational global enterprises, especially Google, do all they can to spy on us for business reasons. Refusing to adopt their hardware and software in our lives clearly will restrict their spying, again your statement is false. But I'm not advocating rejecting all Google offerings either. I have an android phone, wifi and data are off at all time except when I am actively using them. I'm not paranoid enough (yet) to distrust the activity indicators.

        I do advocate rejecting this blatant spy in our homes (and Amazons Echo). I'd happily have a voice activated home assistant and will do so when all the processing is done in my home. Sure, if I ask such a device to tell me the weather in Milan I accept it will search the internet for the weather in Milan in exactly the same was as if I typed a search into duckduckgo (or others) myself. So wake up tech world, I want this function but I will not accept your current implementations.

        Your convenience / acceptable loss of privacy demarcation line may lie elsewhere. This is mine.

  2. ecofeco Silver badge

    Yo we heard you like ceaseless nattering

    So we made it possible to embiggen your ceaseless nattering.

    Cuz there just isn't enough people talking and saying nothing!

  3. quxinot

    Awesome. I'd love to burn my cell data because it's fractionally faster than my unmetered line.

  4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    The future is voice, says Chocolate Factory

    Only if it works when not connected or are Google going to supply free worldwide WiFi?

    Considering the huge package of power and storage in our pockets these days, WTF are we doing heading back to the old mainframe/glass teletype model?

  5. Seajay#

    20% of mobile searches are voice?

    That seems implausibly high to me. 0.2% would be closer to my experience. I don't hear a lot of "OK Google" in public either.

    Where are all these voice searchers? Has anyone else heard them?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: 20% of mobile searches are voice?

      Its because if you try to voice search you have to say it four times before it gets it right, but the stats count all the times you searched for "bib breasted women" and "hot milks"

    2. Geoffrey W

      Re: 20% of mobile searches are voice?

      Yes, I've heard them. I gave a ride to one when his car broke down. He tried to bring up a map to where we were going by talking to his huge slab of a phone. We found the place by randomly driving around before he finally turned off his friendly friend who is fun to be with. Perhaps his friendly friend just doesn't like Tennessee accents.

      As DougS says, the 20% count of voice searches is absolutely certain to include multiple attempts to poke the assistant into life before resorting to keyboard. Far more than 4 attempts in this case.

      1. DryBones

        Re: 20% of mobile searches are voice?

        Yeah, you kind of have to be able to speak properly to use it.

        1. Timmay

          Re: 20% of mobile searches are voice?

          Probably getting on for half of my searches are voice-based - if I'm on my own, in the car, whatever, I'll default to an OK Google voice search, which works probably 90% of the time.

          Yes, pseudo-Anchorman quote; "half of the time it works 90% of the time"!

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: 20% of mobile searches are voice?

      Maybe its 20% measured by bandwidth? :) e.g. Text search 'nearest garage' =~ upload 14+ bytes. "OK Google where is nearest garage" voice recording =~ christ knows but probably KB or more.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: 20% of mobile searches are voice?

      "Where are all these voice searchers? Has anyone else heard them?"

      As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I suspect these sort of stats are generated by people like Google looking out the office window and seeing what the local hipsters are doing and then extrapolating that to the rest of the world ;-)

      I was in a hire car the other week and dialling the bluetooth connected phone was a nightmare. Unlike in my car where not only does the name based voice dialling work based on the way I entered the names into the phone book, but it will also show the phone book on-screen and let me scroll and select by voice. The brand new hire car doesn't let me select from the phone book, it only works by speaking the contact name. The problem is that it seems to randomly decide to change what I entered in my phone book and refuses to recognise "call John Smith", but works with "call Smith John". There seems to be no "system" whereby it decides to recognise forename/surname or surname/forename despite all my phonebook entries being in the same forename/surname format. Basically, some devs are shite at their jobs and voice recognition systems have a long, long, long way to go yet.

  6. Roq D. Kasba

    Incognito Mode

    Surely that's for online banking? Or am I using it wrong?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Incognito Mode

      Surely that's for online banking?

      I think you spelled that wrong. One letter difference...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the pic...

    The thing looks like a friggin air freshener.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never had divorced Parents?, well you have now.

    The future is voice because as a technology its difficult to Open Source. (Cloud based AI core voice interface engines)

    We're heading back to the 1980's/proprietary systems/lock-in. No one will understand you better (the same) than either Google AI - Voice, Microsoft Cortana, or Apple Siri, but like a family feud, none of them will talk to each other.

    It will be a bit like chatting to each of your divorced Parents.

    Google realise this is their future, because its how to continue to control the Search market.

  9. Fred M

    There are at least 20% of Google voice searches in my house. Often from my Android Wear watch. However, most of them are "OK, Google. Show me pictures of Lightning McQueen / Paw Patrol / a dinosaur."

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. BurnT'offering

    Alexa. Google Home

    2 problems:

    1) Voice interaction is not something we only want to do in one room, or pay $200/room to do

    2) Aesthetics. Alexa looks like a dildo by Bang & Olufsen. Google Home looks like a bedside light from British Home Stores.

    Do more research around homes and how people live in them if you're aiming to sell into that space

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Alexa. Google Home

      "Do more research around homes and how people live in them if you're aiming to sell into that space"

      But they have researched! They asked all their staff. Obviously the whole world is single 18-30 year olds, mainly men, and nerds. That stats prove it.

  11. tiggity Silver badge


    Maybe high20% numbers due to pranksters walking past phone users and loudly & clearly enunciating the default activation words (with a quick inspection of passer by phones to see if need siri, google etc. magic phrase needed) before cheeky search request.

    Note I do not condone such activity....

    I always either disable voice search on my devices or (on systems where I might use it) change the magic phrase to something that nobody else will accidentally / intentionally trigger.

    Though only time I use voice control is to occasionally fire up navigation in car (avoids having to park up to operate it by hand)

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: 20%

      If it is more than a short drive, pulling over to answer a text or an email must also be a drag.

      Even a couple of goes at voice control is worth the effort, especially where you can't stop legally or safely.

      Or you could just drive one-handed with a giant, opaque phone against your head through a red light at a large interchange with loads of cars starting to cross like I saw yesterday.

      Even worse than the Smart car (not the driver though) driving over the pedestrian crossing at the red light I was waiting at, crawled into the crossroads, looked left and right and drove across.

      Red lights soon to be advisory only, yield, not even stop and yield, apparently. As indicators have already become sadly.

      1. Cuddles

        Re: 20%

        "If it is more than a short drive, pulling over to answer a text or an email must also be a drag."

        Why would you need to pull over? If it's urgent, they wouldn't have sent a text or email. If you're doing a long drive you'll be stopping at least every couple of hours or so for a rest or toilet break anyway, so why is it such a big problem to just wait?

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