Poll: Do you use the mic switch on your smart speaker?

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Amazon Echo 4th gen mute switchjpg

Credit: Adam Molina / Android Authority

Whether you’re using an Amazon Echo, Google Nest device or Apple HomePod, there’s a mic switch (if sometimes virtual) to stop your smart speaker or display from listening for commands. It can be helpful if you’re worried about accidental activations, or don’t want your gadget listening without your explicit say-so.

But do you use that mic switch, or does it mostly stay idle? It’s a handy feature, but it might also be a hassle if you’re not particularly concerned about a microphone-equipped gadget sitting in your living room. Please let us know your habits in the poll below.

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There’s not as much need to use a mic switch as you might think. While some are convinced that an always-ready microphone means your device is recording everything you say, that’s not really true. Smart speakers and displays don’t record or share anything until they hear wake words like “Alexa” or “Hey Google.” You don’t have to worry that Amazon or Google will offer shopping advice based on your off-hand conversations.

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At the same time, there’s still a chance (however slight) that someone might hear more than you intended to share. Companies frequently have human operators listen to recordings and read transcriptions to be sure their voice assistants are working properly. While those clips are anonymized and might not last long, that still raises the possibility that someone, somewhere might hear what you said in confidence. It might be worth flicking that mic switch in those moments when you want to completely rule out any eavesdropping, no matter how unlikely it might be.

What are your reasons for using the mic switch, if you use it at all? Please share in the comments!

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