Recent reports reveal that Google’s Voice Assistant could be spying on users, and recording private conversations individuals have in in the safety of their homes.
While some individuals may be aware that Google keeps audio clips when a user engages with its voice assistant, recent reports reveal that background voices (or chatter) could be enough to trigger a recording.
Google’s voice assistant enables users to search the web, open apps and interact with a suite of other features using their voice – available across Google’s and many third-party devices.
MailOnline has reportedly received several transcripts of conversations, showing how Google’s Voice Assistant is recording users’ conversations without them knowing.
An anonymous user referenced by the publication claims their security entry code was picked up by the voice assistant, simply by chatting with a friend.
A written transcript of the conversation is said to be:
“If you ever get booked down to my house for some reason the key safe for the back door is 0783”
In June 2016, Google released a ‘My Activity’ feature stating exactly how much information the tech giant has collected about a user.
A Google spokesperson claims that ambient recordings are never transmitted to the cloud, adding they are only captured for quality improvements:
“We only process voice searches after the phone believes the hot word “OK Google” is detected”
“Audio snippets are used by Google to improve the quality of speech recognition across Search.’
The tech giant’s support site states that the firm records a user’s voice and other audio – in addition to a few seconds before – when audio activation is triggered.
Audio is saved to a user’s account when signed in, and when Voice & Audio Activity is turned on. Audio clips can reportedly be saved even when a user’s device is offline.
When queried, Google affirms it uses Voice & Audio Activity to better learn the sound of a user’s voice, including personal nuances in pronunciation.