Bleeping Computer: Google Home speakers allowed hackers to snoop on conversations

Bleeping Computer: Google Home speakers allowed hackers to snoop on conversations. “A bug in Google Home smart speaker allowed installing a backdoor account that could be used to control it remotely and to turn it into a snooping device by accessing the microphone feed. A researcher discovered the issue and received $107,500 for responsibly reporting it to Google last year. Earlier this week, the researcher published technical details about the finding and an attack scenario to show how the flaw could be leveraged.”

Tom’s Guide: Google Home is about to get this huge upgrade

Tom’s Guide: Google Home is about to get this huge upgrade. “After Alexa, Google Home is the largest smart home platform, enabling you to control any number of lights, locks, and plugs just by saying ‘Hey Google.’ However, navigating the Google Home app isn’t the most intuitive. That could change with the newest version of the Google Home app, which promises a streamlined interface that will make it easier to connect to and control smart speakers and other smart home devices.”

Brisbane Times: Google Home devices seemingly bricked by recent software update

Brisbane Times: Google Home devices seemingly bricked by recent software update. “Home devices receive and install software updates without requiring input from the user, typically overnight to avoid interrupting normal operation. But recently some users have discovered their units — specifically original Google Home and Google Home Mini units — have become completely unresponsive with their lights illuminated.”

Ars Technica: Alexa and Google Home abused to eavesdrop and phish passwords

Ars Technica: Alexa and Google Home abused to eavesdrop and phish passwords. “By now, the privacy threats posed by Amazon Alexa and Google Home are common knowledge. Workers for both companies routinely listen to audio of users—recordings of which can be kept forever—and the sounds the devices capture can be used in criminal trials. Now, there’s a new concern: malicious apps developed by third parties and hosted by Amazon or Google. The threat isn’t just theoretical.”

State of Iowa: Governor Reynolds Launches “Ask the State of Iowa” with Google Home and Amazon Echo Skills

State of Iowa: Governor Reynolds Launches “Ask the State of Iowa” with Google Home and Amazon Echo Skills . “Governor Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Gregg, and Chief Information Officer Jeff Franklin announced today that Iowa is expanding its communication channels and services to include Google Home, Amazon Echo, and a chatbot. Iowans can now ask their smartphone or Google/Amazon digital assistant questions about state government events and services.”

Yahoo News UK: 12,000 pieces of official govt advice added to Alexa and Google Home

Yahoo News UK: 12,000 pieces of official govt advice added to Alexa and Google Home. “Information on public services – from renewing a passport to the state pension – can now be accessed through voice-activated smart speakers and virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The government says the public can now access more than 12,000 pieces of official information from the Gov.uk website without having to search online.”

How-To Geek: You Can Now Schedule Custom Routines in Google Home

How-To Geek: You Can Now Schedule Custom Routines in Google Home. “A few months ago, Google added a feature to Google Assistant called Custom Routines that allows users to create strings of commands that can be executed with just a single phrase. Starting today, you can schedule those commands. The new scheduling option is found inside the Routines menu, though it’s worth noting that it’s only available for new routines, not ones that were created before the feature was live. That means you’ll need to recreate your existing routines if you’d like to schedule them. Bummer.”

Washington Post: The Accent Gap

Washington Post: The Accent Gap. “Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant are spearheading a voice-activated revolution, rapidly changing the way millions of people around the world learn new things and plan their lives. But for people with accents — even the regional lilts, dialects and drawls native to various parts of the United States — the artificially intelligent speakers can seem very different: inattentive, unresponsive, even isolating. For many across the country, the wave of the future has a bias problem, and it’s leaving them behind.”

TechCrunch: Google Assistant’s ‘Continued Conversation’ feature is now live

TechCrunch: Google Assistant’s ‘Continued Conversation’ feature is now live. “Google I/O was awash with Assistant news, but Duplex mystery aside, Continued Conversation was easily one of the most compelling announcements of the bunch. The feature is an attempt to bring more naturalized conversation to the AI — a kind of holy grail with these sorts of smart assistants. Continued Conversation is rolling out to Assistant today for users in the U.S. with a Home, Home Mini and Home Max.”

Krebs on Security: Google to Fix Location Data Leak in Google Home, Chromecast

Krebs on Security: Google to Fix Location Data Leak in Google Home, Chromecast. “Google in the coming weeks is expected to fix a location privacy leak in two of its most popular consumer products. New research shows that Web sites can run a simple script in the background that collects precise location data on people who have a Google Home or Chromecast device installed anywhere on their local network.” Ew.