BOSTON (CBS) – Wondering how often your smart speaker picks up on your conversations? A new study from Northeastern University says the devices can be accidentally triggered to start recording up to 19 times per day.

Researchers tested the Google Home Mini, the Apple Homepod, the Microsoft Harman Kardon Invoke and the second and third generations of the Amazon Echo Dot. They played 125 hours of popular TV shows like “Gilmore Girls” and “The Office” on Netflix to see how the devices would respond to words that sound similar to their activation or “wake” words. For example, they found that the word “seriously” sounded close enough to “Siri” to activate the Apple Homepod.

“The average rate of activations per device is between 1.5 and 19 times per day (24 hours) during our experiments,” the study authors said. “HomePod and Cortana devices activate the most, followed by Echo Dot series 2, Google Home Mini, and Echo Dot series 3.”

How long do the devices keep recording once they’re awake? The study found “several cases of long activations.” The Echo Dot 2nd Generation and Invoke devices kept recording for up to 43 seconds, while Homepod and most other Echo devices recorded for 6 seconds or more.

The researchers are still in the process of figuring out how many times these accidental recordings are being sent to “the cloud.” Read more about the study here.


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