Google is Definitely Listening to You – Can you stop it?
In last week’s Zlog post, we addressed the growing concern of Amazon Echo users that Amazon’s super-popular voice assistant, Alexa, is listening in on its users all the time. This week, we continue the story with Google, yet another big company rumored to be listening in on its users. Read this week’s Zlog to learn the truth behind the allegations that the company is storing user recordings and find out how to stop Google from listening in on you.
How is Google Listening?
Being a voice-command-based service, Google’s Assistant works in a similar way to Amazon’s Alexa. Every time you want to use it, you can activate it by voice by saying “OK Google”. While the company says that the voice search function can only be activated by saying these special words, investigations from several sites show that even just by saying “OK” or a similar sounding word activate the voice service for 20 seconds.
What Can Google do with the Recordings?
Even if Google does record your voice data, no one except you and it, will have access to the data. This is good to know about, but most of us still don’t want to hand over our voice records to giant corporations, especially those that have a track record of leaking precious personal data of its users. Google itself explains that it uses recordings of your voice to help you get better results when using its services. What it doesn’t talk about, but most Google users are aware of is the fact that this search engine uses your voice data for targeted ads.
How to Stop Google from Listening in on You
While many people would argue that there is no way of preventing Google from listening in on you, and we can’t say that we disagree, there are certain steps you can take to maximize your privacy levels and minimize the likelihood of Google listening in on you. Here are our three tips on how to stop Google from listening in on you.
Revoke Google’s Access to Your Device’s Microphone
The first step you can take to make sure Google isn’t listening in on you is probably the easiest and most obvious one. By revoking Google’s permission to your mic, you will prevent it from accessing your microphone to record audio. Of course, if you do this, you won’t be able to use Google’s voice search function, but it a small price to pay if you want to keep Google from collecting your voice recordings.
Turn of Google Voice History
What most users don’t know is that you can actually access your Google voice recordings history and manage activities. By going to the Google Activity Controls page, you can prevent Google from linking your voice activity with your Google account. Just like in the previous case, this with limit the voice-related options on your account, but is a very effective solution if privacy is your main priority.
Disable Google Assistant
Last but not least, entirely disabling Google Assistant would probably be the best way to go if you’re worried that Google might be recording everything you say. To do this, go to the Settings tab again and open up the Google category. Go to Google Assistant Settings and set the Google Assistant option to off.
Use Google Without Voice Functions
It’s no secret that Google uses every trick in the book to track your location, online activities and the sites you visit. In all honesty, the tips we shared with you might be a bit inconvenient for you if you’re used to heavily relying on the search engine’s voice search functions. But these steps are well-worth taking if they will give you peace of mind in knowing that Google isn’t keeping logs and recording of everything you say while you’re talking in the vicinity of your devices.
Of course, by using Google’s Voice Assistant at all, the company will still be able to see what your interests are and track your online activities. If you’re looking to go around this issue, you can use more secure and private internet browsers or sign up with a VPN service like ZoogVPN.