How to stop Google from keeping your voice recordings

Domestic assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, are becoming ubiquitous and, as that happens, more and more users discover what part of their data is being collected by these useful elements. Geoffrey A. Fowler of The Washington Post was so surprised by the amount of audio material that Amazon compiled that he actually made a song with his clips.

If all this makes you feel uncomfortable, you can delete the recordings already made by Alexa and the Google Assistant, but of the two, only the Google Assistant allows you to stop the process so that your voice is not recorded in the first place . Here is how to do it.

Note: These steps assume that you are using a web browser. If you want to do it on a mobile device, you still need to do it through the mobile browser, so the process is almost identical.

  • Go to the My Google Activity page
  • Click on the "hamburger" of three lines to get the pull-down menu
  • Click on "Activity Controls"
  • Scroll down to "Activity of voice and audio ". You will see a blue button that, in all likelihood, will be put on.
  • A pop-up message will appear warning you of the serious consequences of the recording pause, such as the lack of recognition by your faithful Assistant Assistant. Do you still want to stop the recording?
  • If you change your mind, go back to the same place and turn it on again.

After reading the warning screen of Google, I was curious about what would happen if I stopped my recording, Google Assistant would not recognize me anymore? Then, before pressing the toggle button, I went to Assistant on my phone and said, "Hi, Google, this is a test." I got the answer: "You go strong and clear."

Then, I alternated "Voice and audio activity" to pause, and said: "Hello, Google, this is the second test". In this case, I did not receive a friendly response; instead, I got a list of videos in which the term "2nd test" appeared in the description. So it made a difference.

Something else to keep in mind: when you pause the voice and the audio, you are not pausing any other activity. For example, after I finished the two previous tests, I went back to the My Activity page, which tracks everything you do with Google. (Look at it, it's fascinating and a little scary) I found that "Hello, Google, this is a test" and "Hi, Google, this is the second test" that appears there; the only difference was that the first included a voice recording.

So it's up to you. One compromise is to allow your Google Assistant to continue recording, and simply delete the existing recordings on a regular basis. Of course, this will not completely assure you that your voice is not being held on a server somewhere. But it is a beginning.

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