Commentary: Home devices are becoming less cool and more creepy

Amazon, Google, Apple, and now Facebook are now all pushing for home invasion, they are fighting hard to get conquer the consumer’s home (and possibly your car), and while competition is great for us consumers, not everything about this is good for us.

When Amazon released Echo with the wonderful digital assistant Alexa, I was pretty excited, I bought one, and I’m still pretty happy with it. It took Google and Apple a little bit to respond with their own flavor of a smart speaker/home assistant, but they did. So far so good.

I have to admit, when the Google home device was released, I started to worry about all of this. The Amazon Echo, while creepy sometimes, it’s not entirely aware of my life, it knows what toothpaste I buy and how often but it doesn’t know about my contacts, my email, etc. Also, it’s good to know that Amazon’s primary business model isn’t advertising, and neither is Apple’s.

Now, Google is another story, but I’m still trusting them with my email, and only some of my searches and internet browsing (I’ve switched to Firefox as my primary browser and DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine).

Facebook is where I feel the line has been crossed into creepiness, I just don’t trust the company now, and I am definitely not feeling that bringing Facebook’s eyes and ears into my house is a wise choice. And how can we trust them? They haven’t been playing nice with consumer’s privacy and why would they? Facebook’s business model is advertising, and their success is the result of highly targeted advertising that is only possible by them collecting multiple data points from us, our contacts, and our online (and offline) behavior to create detailed profiles that can be bundled and offered to whoever needs them.

I invite you to read Ben Thompson’s weekly article with the title The Battle for the Home which inspired this brief commentary.