Google Privacy

Google Assistant Adds Delete Data Voice Command

Starting next week Google Assistant users will be able to delete data collected by the Assistant using a voice command. The new feature is part of several privacy features announced by Google in a blog post.

Hitting the Delete Button with Voice

Google currently allows users to delete information collected by Google Assistant, but is only accessible through their settings online. When the feature arrives next week, users will be able to tell the voice assistant to erase what it has heard, ranging from the most recent command to everything recorded in the last week or longer. The one stipulation is that deleting more than a week’s worth of memory requires confirmation in the user’s account settings. Amazon added a similar voice command to Alexa devices in May as part of its own effort to educate users about their privacy policies.

The new feature is Google attempting to make its voice privacy practices more transparent. Users can also ask the voice assistant how it is keeping data safe and it will reply with an explanation about Google’s privacy rules. In addition to the Google Assistant privacy feature, Google also debuted new privacy enhancements for its other products. The Password Checkup  feature looks for weak passwords to help people improve their digital security, while Google Maps will now have an Incognito Mode similar to the Google Chrome and YouTube incognito options.

Privacy actions in the Assistant

Making Up for Privacy Problems

Google has been stepping up efforts to improve Google Assistant’s privacy configurations for users since the revelations in July that contractors hired by the company listen to snippets of audio recorded by the voice assistant. A couple of months after pausing its contractor program for review, the company changed its policy regarding Google Assistant’s data and apologized for failing to communicate how it handles user data.

This summer saw nearly every voice assistant developer come under fire for how it stores and shares audio recordings. In turn, each one is scrambling for ways to enhance their privacy protection, with Google and Apple both making changes to privacy rules and practices. Perhaps more crucially for the companies is the need to repair people’s perception of the voice assistants when it comes to privacy. The damage done to the reputation of the voice assistants can’t be undone. Even people who did not pay much attention to the privacy settings of their voice assistants are likely to be aware of its flaws now. Still, the companies are going to keep looking for ways to try and earn back some of the trust they lost.


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