Mycroft Mark II Open-source Echo rival respects your privacy and doesn’t want to sell you anything
Crowdfund of the week: Mycroft Mark II
While a real butler will cost you a fortune in wages, digital assistants are cheap and plentiful – and with names almost as archaic as Jeeves, to boot. Alexa, Bixby, Cortana, Siri and Google Assistant all want your business, but there’s a reason the prices are so tempting: each is backed by a massive company very keen to tempt you into its ecosystem for targeted advertising, direct sales or general company revenue.
This week’s crowdfund is different: a smart speaker that has a refreshing desire not to sell at you. Alphr readers, meet Mycroft.
What is Mycroft Mark II?
Mycroft Mark II (shorthanded to Mycroft from now on) is the second edition of a smart speaker, originally crowdfunded back in 2015. The original was based on the same principles, but was packaged in a way only a developer could love. The new Mycroft, on the other hand, is ready for its consumer close-up, and happy to be compared to the Amazon Echo, the Google Home or the Apple HomePod.
Unlike the Silicon Valley speakers which have – unfairly or not – been viewed as some as a data-collecting Trojan horse, Mycroft is different. The smart speaker will answer your questions, but it will delete your data from the server as soon as it’s done helping you, and it won’t try to sell you anything in the process.
“For a certain segment of the population, privacy is a huge concern,” Mycroft creator Joshua Montgomery tells me via email. “These users are worried that Big Tech is listening to everything they say and, frankly, they should be worried.
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