Words & Phrases That Accidentally Trigger Siri, Alexa & More

Have you ever been watching television or having a conversation and all of a sudden Alexa, Siri, or Google responds? It's been recently discovered that certain words and phrases will trigger those smart devices and programs.

Last week, my parents came up to Tuscaloosa to visit. While playing with his grandson, my father ended up speaking baby talk and my google speaker randomly responded, giving a definition for "A Booga Booga Booga" or something similar. It was very weird, but funny at the same time because it repeated exactly what my father had said and given the origin. According to Arstechnica, research has shown that words and phrases from TV shows and other sources set off false triggers for Google Home, Alexa, Siri, and other voice assistants. Although baby talk wasn't discovered as a false trigger this research it's intriguing that such common phrases cause these false triggers. Below is a brief list from Arstechnica that shows words and phrases that were found to cause false triggers for certain voice assistants.


  • Alexa: “unacceptable,” “election,” and “a letter”
  • Google Home: “OK, cool,” and “Okay, who is reading”
  • Siri: “a city” and “hey jerry”
  • Microsoft Cortana: “Montana”

Aside from it becoming annoying, this raises questions about privacy. Many believe these devices are always listening and possibly sending information to the corporations that create these devices. Although I won't throw away my Google Home device because of this, I completely understand how someone could be concerned about their privacy within their home after hearing this information. I'd hate to unplug my device every time I don't want it in use, but I could see that being a solution to prevent false triggers. Do you consider these false triggers an invasion of privacy?


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