Google Assistant and other voice assistants have come under scrutiny in recent times over the use of human transcribers in their improvement programmes. This means, they had employed language experts to listen to and transcribe voice recordings saved by their virtual voice assistants for review. However, this came across as a breach of privacy for most new users. Google was sincere to take it up and they have already launched new Google Assistant Privacy features are sure to help.
Updates Were Needed to Protect User Privacy
The internet search giant has announced that it will be adding sensitivity options for voice detection by the Google Assistant to safeguard user privacy in a blog post yesterday. Moreover, the process of human transcription has been paused until a complete review of their systems and controls.
Google officials have accepted that the company uses a sample of stored audio data to understand more languages and accents. But, the blog post further added that the audio data isn’t stored by default.
Users can check their current settings by visiting their data in the Assistant page. They can change their Voice & Audio Activity settings if they don’t want the Google Assistant to store their data. They can also view and delete their past interactions with the Google Assistant at any time.
How do Google Assistant Privacy Features help?
New audio setting
Updated audio settings will highlight that human reviewers may listen to their audio snippets when they turn on Voice & Audio Activity. Existing Google Assistant users will also have the option to review their VAA settings and to confirm or change their preference.
Precautions in the review process
Audio recordings will be used only after their respective users have re-confirmed their VAA setting as on. Even, during the human review process, audio snippets are not associated with any user accounts. Google has further promised to add greater security features such as an extra layer of privacy filters to the human review process.
Sensitivity options for voice detection
The company has said that it is also working towards enabling better identification of unintentional activations. Moreover, users will soon be able to customize how sensitive their Google Assistant devices are to prompts like ‘Hey Google!’ It would enable them to reduce unintentional activations. However, users can also opt to make it easier for the voice assistant to get help in noisy surroundings.
These updates are expected to address major privacy concerns raised in recent weeks. However, users are also hoping that other voice assistants including Alexa and Siri will follow suit.
Also Read: Google Assistant vs. Alexa vs. Siri
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