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Teach Amazon Echo, Google Home Not To Respond To Your TV: Here's How

7 February 2017, 1:33 am EST By Chris Loterina Tech Times
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Accidentally waking Amazon Echo or Google Home may be cute, but it could pose a risk especially when hijacked by a third party. Here are some steps you can take to nip that prospect in the bud.  ( Google )

As you probably know by now, when your TV started blaring Google's Super Bowl ad, Google Homes across the nation promptly responded to the actors saying the "OK Google" command. The same happened to several Amazon Echo devices, which started ordering dollhouses when they heard a TV commentator mention the command trigger.

Hijacking Risk

Jimmy Kimmel might even decide to prank the country by having Amazon Echo and Google Home do his bidding via his talk show. The story, however, could take a more serious turn if a third-party use broadcast media to have these smart assistants execute commands to perpetuate a coordinated attack.

This is not a far-fetched possibility especially when unscrupulous TV manufacturers have been recording and selling the TV viewing habits of millions of American users.

According to Google and Amazon, their commercials featuring trigger commands have already been altered to avoid prompting responses from their respective smart assistants. Yet, we still have the Super Bowl incident as a cautionary tale.

So is there something owners can do to keep the Amazon Echo and Google Home from responding to the TV?

Manual Switch

For Google Home, there is only one workaround at this point, and that involves a physical switch. This is located at the back of the device, and you can simply turn it off if you're are watching TV or consuming any form of broadcasted material.

The solution is quite frustrating especially when you constantly have to switch the device on and off all the time. True, it is not smart at all, but it is preferable than having your smart assistant opening smart appliances on its own. Imagine, for instance, if Google Home started preheating your oven without your knowledge. Alexa can also do this with a GE smart appliance.

Alexa Wake Word

You can also turn Amazon Echo or the Echo Dot's microphone off. The button is located at the top of the device.

Furthermore, you can modify Alexa's wake word. Unfortunately, you can only choose from four options: Alexa, Amazon, Echo, or Computer.

Just head to the Settings menu in the Alexa app and tap your device. The General section contains the wake word entries.

It would have been better if you can use a custom wake word, but the four available could allow you to use more variations in comparison with Google Home's two, the "OK Google" and "Hey Google."

According to Wired, some upcoming smart appliances for the Alexa devices will allow you to enter custom triggers, and these include the LG's Hub robot.

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