Google Is Recording Your Voice


Google Is Recording Your Voice

If you have used Google’s voice control functions – the search giant may be archiving your voice searches and commands. How to find and delete these voice recordings.

How to listen to (and delete) everything you’ve ever said to Google by Alex Hern for The Guardian | 10/13/2015

Users of Google’s voice-control features such as OK Google are probably aware that the company stores the voice recordings it receives when they talk to it. But it’s still a bit of a shock to be confronted with a list of all the recordings the company has ever made of you.

Google’s voice and audio activity page isn’t promoted heavily by the company, and visiting it gives a hint as to why. If you have (or have ever had) an Android phone with Google’s “OK Google” voice-control system, the page should show a list of every command you have ever given it – replete with a little play button next to it.

In my case, that means I found a recording of me asking for the nearest Waitrose in Glasgow (well, I am a Guardian journalist), lazily doing Fahrenheit conversions for cooking, trying to get driving directions to an Ikea, and just hurling random obscenities as a dumb, unfeeling computer (like I said, I am a Guardian journalist).

The feature is one of a number of attempts by the company to demystify its data-collection service. Similarly, Google offers a location history, showing users any location the company has tracked them to, through apps such as Google Maps as well as simply using an Android phone.

But in both cases, the features create a sense of unease just as strongly as they do reassurance. Yes, it’s good to be able to see what the company keeps. But it’s also a stark reminder of just how much it has in the first place.

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6 thoughts on “Google Is Recording Your Voice

  1. I wish I didn’t need a Google account at all, just so that I can download and update apps on my Android phone! I hate Google and all its data collection channels!

    I think it would be better if your mobile company hosted the apps. That way we wouldn’t all need Google accounts. But I doubt that will ever happen, so we’re all stuck with Google whether we like it or not – and most of us don’t!

    • @Sheri: –I wouldn’t trust google, either! So I don’t have a google account for anything. I don’t use a smartphone for anything but phone calls, and I won’t have a tablet. People complain about privacy invasion when filling out a census form, but have no qualms about providing google with 1000 times the information government needs.

      I really don’t understand how people can flock to social media, either. There are other excellent ways to share information, and keep it to those who really matter, and will protect your privacy. Google can stickit. I won’t use them for anything.

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