PC Magazine’s “tech nerd” Whitson Gordon writes that “Once you start using a smart speaker to set reminders, play the news, or turn the lights on, it’s hard to go back.”
But if you want the convenience of voice control without the data-collecting tech giant behind the scenes, an open-source project called Mycroft is a great alternative. And you can run it right on a Raspberry Pi.
Mycroft is a free, open-source voice assistant designed to run on Linux-based devices… Mycroft has been around for quite a few years, but it’s recently gained a bit more notoriety thanks to privacy concerns surrounding data collection at Amazon and Google. Unlike those assistants, Mycroft only collects data if you opt in during setup. And for the users who do opt in, Mycroft promises never to sell your data to advertisers or third parties — instead, it only uses it to help developers improve the product. Mycroft even uses the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo as its search engine instead of Google when you ask for information.
Mycroft makes its own smart speaker called the Mark I, though it’s currently sold out with a new Mark II (video here) on the way. However, since the project is open-source, you can install Mycroft on just about any Linux machine, including the Raspberry Pi (thanks to a pre-made build called Picroft). Using Mycroft on the Pi is free, but you can also subscribe to a $1.99-per-month plan to help support its development — you’ll even get a few goodies, like other voices that sound more lifelike than the default robotic voice.