Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
- Google officials apparently told a government panel that the assistant secretly records user audio.
- The company also reiterated that its employees sometimes eavesdrop on Google Assistant conversations.
Google has reportedly admitted that the Google Assistant records the user’s audio even when it is not triggered by the keyword “Ok Google”.
According to India todayAccording to Google sources, Google officials apparently told a government panel in India that its employees were listening to tapes of conversations between users and the Google Assistant. Although this is something that Google has previously accepted, sources also told the post that the company admitted that its AI assistant sometimes records audio on a smartphone or smart speaker even when not summoned by the user.
Google previously claimed that its employees listen to recordings of what users say to the Google Assistant to improve its speech recognition technology for different languages. The company said that only a fraction of the audio is accessible to its employees and that they do not listen to sensitive conversations. However, there is no information on how Google distinguishes between sensitive and general conversations. In addition, in 2019, one of Google’s language revisers had escape confidential audio data to Belgian media.
Related: Google Assistant Guide – Get the Most Out of Your Virtual Assistant
Additionally, Google hasn’t explained why the Assistant records user’s audio when it’s not triggered by a voice command. We know the digital assistant is always listening to its trigger word, just like Amazon’s Alexa, but until now we understood that it only records conversations after hearing “Hey Google” or “OK Google”. If what Google would have admitted is true, it opens up a pandora’s box over privacy concerns.
Another senior official from India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said: “The government is looking into the problem of companies like Google that typically do not delete stored data and keep transcripts until a user manually deletes the information.