You’ve probably seen the ad. It features people coming home, greeting one another and using the Google Home to turn on the lights or music. Google ran the ad last night during the Super Bowl and according to Twitter, it set off many users Google Home devices. In some cases, even performing the action in the commercial. While the ad has run before, this is the first time millions of people have seen it at the same time, hence the overwhelming response on social media.
Any owner of a Google Home or Amazon Echo knows that certain TV commercials can prompt unwanted activity but it is a small price to pay for the convenience the devices can offer. But the large scale response to the Super Bowl ad confirms many people’s fears about these devices – they are always listening. In a recent PwC survey on IoT and smart home devices, 17% of respondents said their biggest hesitation against purchasing was privacy. The always listening feature that makes Google Home and Echo devices so capable of voice interaction could be a deterrent for mass adoption.
But we are still in the early stages of voice technology. Many of our voice-first industry leaders predicted that voice-recognition, the ability to distinguish between your voice and others, will become a reality in 2017. Until then, hit the mute button.