Skip to main content

Ok Google, can I trust you? What our IT experts think of Google Home and Amazon Echo


Over the last couple of years, Google Home and Amazon Echo have become permanent fixtures in our houses, and the amount of things we can control with our voices has grown exponentially. From light bulbs to kettles, to the temperature of our homes, it seems that everything is getting ‘smart’. But can we trust devices that are always listening? We asked a bunch of our IT support engineers and web developers what they think of their home assistants.

Dave Park

I've got Google Home Mini - I have one upstairs and one downstairs. I got one of them for free with my TV. I didn't even realise I needed one until I got one; then Mr. Wong educated me on the things I could get it to do. I bought the second one a few months afterwards. The second one is awesome because I can talk to the kids when they're upstairs without having to shout - you can talk from a Google Mini to another one. Or I can talk through my mobile phone to my dog at home.

I ask what the weather is going to be like on a given day, what the traffic is like, ask it to play some relaxing music, ask it a random question when I'm arguing with someone about something - because Google is always right. I know it's listening to us and I don't care to be honest; it's got to be listening all the time so it can respond. My Xbox has been listening for years. I don't mind, I've got nothing to hide. 

David Wong

I have Google Home and the Home Hub that has a little screen. I got it last year. I use it to switch my lights on and off, and it is my alarm clock aswell - it switches on, tells me the weather and plays the radio. I play music with it, it tells me what the traffic is like for my commute. I can use it for my TV but it takes too long, so generally I just use the remote control. 

I'm not worried about it always listening; I actually wish it would learn how to listen better because anyone can say anything - in the house, on the radio, - and that will have set it off. Google's television adverts for Google Home uses the phrase 'Hey Google'; as soon as that starts, it sets my Google Home off. I'm not bothered by the fact that it's always on, because it can't even distinguish between me and an advert. If it wasn't for the fact that it switches on my lights, I'd get rid of it. It's a glorified light switch.  

Kirk Conway

I have six Echo Dots, one Google Home Mini and one Echo Show - that's basically an Echo that has a screen on it. I picked them all up over the last two years. The Echo Dots are cheap, so there's one of those in every room. The Google Home Mini was free, and the Echo Show is because the iPad in the kitchen died - it was cheaper to replace it with an Echo Show. Now I can shout at it when I'm cooking without having to press any buttons.

I use it for controlling lights, heating, watching cooking videos. I use it for playing music when I have people over, because it syncs music between all the different rooms.  I'm not worried about the privacy stuff - I can view the amount of data that each device is uploading. The one in front of the TV has uploaded 4.7GB of data to Amazon; the one of the dining room had uploaded 1MB by comparison. I just don't really care; I know it uploads everything because I can see it happening. But I don't mind. I could go without them, but it would be boring.

Lyndsey Gardiner

I have two Amazon Echo Dots. I got one last year in the Black Friday sale - it was 10% off for users of Prime Now, and then I got cash back on it too so it was a real bargain. I got the latest one a few months ago - that one was a gift. I use it for mostly kitchen timers and listening to music; occasionally audio books. 

The privacy issues bother me a little; but one of the Echo Dots lives in the kitchen and the other one lives in the spare room, so it's not like they're in main rooms in the house. I've never checked the amount of data it uploads - I wouldn't even know how to check. I wouldn't get rid of them though.

Kai Taylor

I've got an Amazon Echo Dot - I got it last Christmas in the Black Friday sale. I use it for music, podcasts, listening to the news. It's in my bedroom. There's not many people in my room so it's fine.

I'm not worried about the security stuff - I think everything else is probably listening in already, like my phone and stuff. It's not always on, but it is on most of the time. I turn it off when I have to plug something else in, like when I have to turn the heat lamps on for my snakes. Sometimes I'll have it play the sound of rain for background noise before I go to sleep.

Lee Irving

I have an Amazon Echo, I got it years ago. I use it for music, podcasts and my Bluetooth speaker. It's in the kitchen or in the bathroom, depending on where I move it - it's useful when you're having a bath, you can change the music easily. The range is pretty good - I can talk to mine in the kitchen from upstairs and it'll respond; although saying that, it is deaf when I'm stood next to it. It only understands angry Geordie voices. If I ask Alexa to play something, I have to shout to get it to understand me. 

It isn't switched on enough for me to worry about privacy and security really; if someone wants to listen to me having a bath, or washing the dishes or cooking a meal, they're welcome to. Those are the only times that I use it - I unplug it most of the time. I'd never get rid of it because I use it every day.

Stephen Brazier

I got a free Google Home Mini when I got my phone - but I've never plugged it in. I don't think the pay off is worth losing your privacy to be honest.

Tweet us @TranscenditUK


The Transcendit Way

Transcendit understand that when you choose to work with us, whether we're taking care of your IT, app or web development, you're trusting us with part of your business. So whether we're looking after your computers, phone systems or servers we always do things 'the Transcendit way'.

The whole of our team adhere to the same values, beliefs and policies - the principles that were written when Transcendit first formed in 2000. Whether you come to us for a refurbished computer, cloud services or recovery backup you can be confident that you'll always receive the same excellent service.

The Transcendit way outlines how we do business; following the same straightforward principles with every client and customer, regardless of how big or small they may be.

That means we get to know you and your business. We offer you a friendly, professional and efficient service, and we'll always be honest with you.
We understand that not everybody speaks fluent IT, so we try to explain things in a way that is simple and clear. We always spend as much time as is necessary explaining things to you.
If you need to talk to us about something, no matter how insignificant, we are only ever a phone call away – and we’re never too busy to make you a cup of tea and have a sit down with you in person.
We understand how frustrating it can be when things are late. When we schedule an appointment with you, we are there when you’re expecting us. If something prevents us from getting there, we always call you in advance to let you know.
Sometimes things can go wrong, but we never lie to you or try to cover something up. If things go askew we tell you what’s happened and how we plan to prevent it affecting your business.
We want you to continuously benefit from working with us. We regularly discuss your business and make suggestions for improving systems and processes wherever we can – but we never try to push you into a purchase.
When we quote a fixed price, that's always the amount we charge – you won’t find any nasty surprises on a bill from us. If you are paying by time and materials, we inform you if our approximations could change.
We understand the importance of privacy for your business and your customers. We respect the confidentiality of your data, and we will never pass on your information to third parties.
We appreciate it when you take the time to give us feedback. A system called CustomerSure records our client's responses, so you can trust that our reviews are from real people.
Find out what they're saying here.
You have got a great team there, nothing was a problem and they were extremely patient with me in explaining various things and sorting this out for me. Great Service Philip Bousfield, Advanced Financial Planning

Based on 8748 reviews our customers rate us 9.8/10. Reviews and ratings by Customersure. 25-March-2020

Transcendit are proud sponsors of CHUF, the Children's Heart Unit Fund.

Transcendit is a Living Wage employer