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Google plans fewer recordings Assistant listening after privacy concerns

Google takes measures to listen in with voice commands that users give to Google Assistant. Google will not save voice recordings by default and make them available for listening by employees.

Saving voice recordings did not happen without the user’s permission, but from now on Google will explain better what users agree with: fragments of their voice commands can be listened to by people to improve Google Assistant.

Give permission again

Users, who already agreed with that option, now get the question again if they still want to share their data. Until users re-enable or disable that option, don’t let Google hear their voice recordings from employees. Audio data from users older than a few months that are already stored on Google’s servers will be deleted soon.

In addition, Google promises that the privacy of users who do participate better protected. The company states that employees listen to about 0.2 present of all assignments to the Assistant. These assignments are not associated with user accounts or other personal information.

An “extra layer of privacy filters” has also been added to the assessment process. Google systems then try to remove sensitive components from the audio before it reaches human employees, such as filtering names.

Sensitivity ‘Hey Google’

Soon the sensitivity of the “Hey Google” activation word will be made customizable. Now the assistant sometimes starts to listen by accident, because another word was confused with “Hey Google”. Users can reduce this by adjusting the sensitivity. Recordings will also be deleted faster after incorrectly interpreted activations.

Fuss

Google takes these measures after it appeared in July that the company was listening in with the voice commands. Short audio clips were listened to by employees to improve the assistant. Listening in was not clearly reported to the user.

After a fuss, Google temporarily stopped listening to fragments on 1 August. Apple followed shortly thereafter: that company also showed fragments of Siri to employees. Apple apologized at the end of August. Siri recordings are also no longer collected as standard.

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