Colonizing the Home as Data-Source: Investigating the Language of Amazon Skills and Google Actions

Louise Marie Hurel, Nick Couldry


Multiple domains of life and everyday routine interactions have been targeted as key sites for shaping individuals’ behaviors according to companies’ data extractive expectations, in particular the home. The introduction of Digital Personal Assistants (DPA) such as Alexa and Google Assistant has been one of the ways through which companies have sought to push the frontiers of data extraction into the most private and intimate spaces of everyday life. In this article, we look at how the home has been positioned as a space for data extraction through Amazon “skills” and Google “actions”—programmable apps within the DPA. We conducted a thematic analysis of documents from both companies and present different dimensions through which the home is opened up for data extraction, a process we call the “data colonization” of the home.


Data colonialism, Digital Personal Assistants, domestication, Amazon, Google

Full Text: