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Here’s why Google and Amazon are giving you Home Minis and Echo Dots for next to nothing

Our data is our most valuable resource.

amazon echo and google home mini smart speakers
Image: KnowTechie

There is a recent trend going with smart speakers where signing up for a service or buying something will somehow land you with one at no charge.

For example, Spotify had an offer for its Premium subscribers where they would receive a free Google Home Mini. Tile is giving away a Home when someone buys a multi-pack of the devices. Amazon had some (now-expired) deals this year as well, including one where a customer could get an Echo Dot for 99 cents when they sign up for Amazon Music.

Hey, the customers think, this is a great deal, these speakers are pretty awesome.

Well, as it turns out, the biggest reason why these companies are giving speakers away is for, you guessed it, data. As reported by OneZero, by using the Home, Dot or one of the many Assistant or Alexa-enabled devices it allows their manufacturers to mine user’s voice data.

Amazon and Google are willing to sell their smart speakers at a low price that almost guarantees they’ll lose money on the transaction because they’ll almost certainly make that money back with your data and future purchases.

Hey, the customers now think, this is not such a great deal after all.

If you received a free smart speaker recently, chances are your data is getting poached

amazon echo dot records your recordings here's how to delete them

Image: KnowTechie

Companies using smart speakers to monitor someone’s data isn’t exactly a well-kept secret. After all, selling a person’s private data, like their shopping habits, is big business.

The majority of the smaller smart speaker devices, like the Echo Dot and Home, are priced relatively low. So, giving these products away for free isn’t a huge loss for the companies. They expect buyers to purchase accessories and additional products for the speakers, as well.

However, there are ways to stop the monitoring of a user’s data for the Home and Echo Dot.

For Amazon Echo owners:

  • Log into your Amazon account
  • Click on the Accounts & Lists on the upper right-hand corner
  • Find the Your Content & Options link and click on it
  • On that menu, open up the Privacy Settings
  • Click on Manage Your Alexa Data
  • From this menu, click on the box next to the Use Voice Recordings to Improve Amazon Services and to Develop New Features option to uncheck it

For Google Home owners:

  • Log onto your Google Account
  • After getting set up, click on Data & Personalization
  • In this menu, click on Manage Your Activity Controls
  • users can uncheck Include Voice and Audio Recordings

Smart speakers are good products that can be helpful for everyday tasks. Hopefully, keeping these data deletion techniques in mind won’t make folks regret taking the deals from Amazon and Google.

What do you think? Surprised by this news or did this seem pretty obvious to you? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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