Google no longer stores audio recordings by default for all users of Assistant

Google no longer stores audio recordings by default for all users of Assistant

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Starting today, Google has opted out all users from having their audio stored by the company. The move is the result of Google reimplementing a program that will use humans to analyze and rate audio snippets.

If you do want the search giant to store your audio recordings, you’ll actually have to opt in to the program by enabling the Voice & Audio Activity (VAA) setting.

Google is reportedly sending out emails to anyone who has interacted with Google Assistant, whether it was through a smart speaker or via an application such as Google Maps. The Verge shared a copy of the email, which explains that Google uses saved recordings to improve the search giant’s audio recognition technologies.

Email sent to some users. Via: The Verge

If you do opt in to Google’s program, you’ll be able to delete them at any time through your Web & App Activity dashboard. The company said it will also delete audio recordings when they aren’t needed to develop products and technologies.

As The Verge points out, your audio recordings will at first be associated with your account, and Google will use these snippets to improve voice matching. Following that, your audio will be “anonymized” and reviewed by human reviewers, some of whom will from third-party vendors.

Google’s new policy changes come after the search giant and other large tech companies were revealed to be storing and reviewing audio recordings. The practice became a big scandal last year, causing companies to be much more transparent about their practices. Google made significant changes to its audio retention policies last year, saying it wouldn’t allow humans to review recordings without user permission. Today’s new program appears to be these new policies being put into action.

You should get an email in the coming days that will explain the new program and provide information on how to delete your audio recordings.


Via: The Verge