You can do a lot with Alexa. Here you can add skills.
It was the nightmare of every Amazon Echo owner. Alexa, the attached speaker, really listened to your concerns and passed behind her back the record of a private chit chat to someone on her echo contact list.
This actually happened this week, according to the KIRO TV station in Seattle, where the story of the privacy of a Portland woman was told.
Amazon has tried to counter the concerns of "always listening" devices by reminding us that the echo only comes into action when it hears the Alexa wake up word. Ditto for Google and the speaker connected to Google Home. The flaw for the Portland family, according to Amazon, is that Alexa heard the wake-up word, followed by a series of commands that the family member deliberately did not do.
This was also the week when new data protection rules came into force in Europe and our email inboxes were flooded with updates to the privacy policies of websites, apps and newsletters, detailing how they are now using our information. Although the rules are only enforceable for European citizens, Americans can benefit because it is simply too difficult for most technology companies to have different standards.
So, if you would feel better a moment hands of the big tech companies – comes over Alexa.
If you are worried about this scenario, there is a simple solution. Do not set up the echo speaker to make calls like the Portland woman did.
This feature allows you to make Alexa calls through the loudspeaker or the Alexa app and to call landline and mobile phone numbers that are in the contacts of your mobile phone.
Google has a similar calling feature that also works by setting up calls in the Google Home Smartphone app.
More: 6 ways to prevent Alexa from listening to you
Most people play music and ask their wise speakers about the weather, but Bret Kinsella, who Editor of The Voicebot.ai blog, says making calls is becoming increasingly popular.
He interviewed 1,000 people in January and found that 41% tried calls and messages with their speakers, 29% used them monthly and 10% daily.  "That's pretty popular compared to a lot of things," he says.
And for those with the Apple HomePod, the latest of the new connected speakers, yes, you can use the personal Siri wizard to command music selection and get questions answered. However, you can not make outgoing calls but transfer calls from an iPhone to the Apple speaker and use them as speakers.
Just do not tell Alexa during your call and wake up the echo speaker.
In Other Technical News This Week
YouTube's Revised Music Subscription Service bases its referrals on your view story. How does it work? Jefferson Graham Reviews for Talking Tech.
-YouTube has released a reworked music service that was highlighted with a really cool feature that the competition does not have: non-stop music mixes. But often the algorithm gets stuck and plays the same artists again and again. That is, no music service has such an extensive collection of songs. I weigh up here and compare the offers from YouTube with the big 3-Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon.
Samsung owes Apple $ 539 million in damages per long-standing patent dispute.
Siri offered USA TODAY, CNET, Gizmodo and others as it would be new and improved at the upcoming WWDC Apple Developer Conference in June. And we fell for it. Only one problem – these indications were from 2017. Apple had not come to update them. Until after our piece ran.
This week's Talking Tech podcasts
photographer Pete Halvorsen and Jefferson Graham at the Manhattan Beach Pier in Manhattan Beach, California (Photo: Jefferson Graham)  – Photographer Pete Halvorsen tells how to master the Instagram success
Preview: RED's crazy new hydrogen holographic 4D smartphone.
– First attempt: YouTube Music's new subscription service.
-The Siri preview of the Apple Developer Conference.
-music-Smackdown. Rate the Big 3 and the new kid on the block, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and YouTube.
Michael Schneider is the founder of the service app, which saves money on hotels and delays. Taken in the US TODAY Los Angeles office (Photo: Jefferson Graham)
– Save money on hotel rooms and late flights with service. Michael Schneider, founder of the Spar app, talks about how to get money back from hotels and airlines with service.
-The cashless society is coming. Jeremy Allaire, the founder of the Circle Pay app, gives his predictions about when we will not carry a green with us anymore.
-As the Russians tried to devastate US politics even after Donald Trump's 2016 election on Facebook. USA TODAY tech editor Laura Mandaro explains.
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