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Alexa Skills and Google Assistant Actions can eavesdrop on users by abusing silence

When it comes to privacy, smart speakers tread on a fine line between serving commands or playing content and listening in on everything you're doing. However, engineers at Security Research Labs have been able to cross that line using a series of building blocks that comprise Amazon Alexa's Skills as well as Google Assistant's Actions, making us aware of the ways some malevolent developers can capture our data.

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Google attempts to shed light on the confusing 'Works with Nest' to 'Works with Google Assistant' transition

When Google decided to deprecate its Works with Nest API, there was a litany of questions left behind of what would happen. Some of those answers came when third parties started sending notices to Nest product owners saying that their apps and routines would not work with their cameras, thermostats, and other appliances past August 31 (or earlier). At the same time, as Nest account holders begrudgingly move their roots to a Google account, there are questions as to if all the Works with Nest integrations will be carried over. Google has come back today with answers.

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Google Assistant gets a proper web directory for all the possible integrations and services

One of our pet peeves at Android Police lately (mostly mine and Artem's) has been the lack of a proper Google Assistant directory on the web. Amazon simply has its Alexa skills searchable from its site, like you would for any product or app or book, but to see if Assistant supports a certain product you had to have a phone/tablet with Assistant enabled, browse to the slightly hidden Explore section which is accessible from the blue envelope thing on the top right of the Assistant screen, and just then you could either search or use the trending and new sections.

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Amazon is giving developers with live Alexa skills $100 in AWS promo credits for usage charges

Amazon is throwing some developers a bone with a promotional credit on AWS for Alexa skills to help cover any incurred usage charges. Most of them use the free tier, but some do end up exceeding those limits and incur charges. Any that do can apply for a $100 promotional credit to help cover those costs.

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Amazon boasts 10,000 skills available for Alexa

Amazon's Alexa assistant has one major advantage over the Google Home (and other competing voice assistants) - the massive amount of third-party skills. Google has a similar developer platform for Assistant, Actions on Google, but the simple fact that Alexa has been around longer means it has a more sizable collection of abilities.

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