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Managing your Google Voice and audio activity

While some people are using Google apps with speech technology knowingly, many don’t know that their voices and sounds around them are being recorded, stored, listened to by Google staff or reviewers, and transcribed.

Google insists that the capturing of voice and audio is for improving how these apps work. However, the company is now probing the leaking of recordings made by smart devices, including those made without device users’ knowledge or permission.

While Google has a sweet statement and a support page addressing privacy concerns, these are the facts:

1. “False accepts” do happen. This leads to devices recording without you asking them to.

2. Not only are your devices listening to you, but those belonging to others around you are also capable of capturing you as well.

3. Humans transcribe your captured voice and audio. Yes. They listen and they transcribe.

4. These voices and audio can, and do leak as Google’s probe confirms.

To stop Google from recording, see the steps below. You can also listen to what has been captured on you so far.

Accessing your Google Voice and Audio Activity

1. Google has an app name “Google” on your phone. Search for the Google app on your Android or iPhone; Android tablet or iPad; and iPod.

2. Once you open the app find your photo and tap it – likely on the top right.

If it is your first time of access, you’ll get a welcome message. Tap and continue.

3. Select “Manage your Google Account”

Sometimes, you may need to enter your password before this step can be completed.

4. Next, move to the Privacy & Personalisation section of your account and tap “Manage your data & personalisation”.

Deactivating the recordings

5. The next page should be the Activity controls. Select the voice and audio control.

6. You should see a page dedicated to voice and audio by now. Slide the blue switch to turn the feature off (hopefully, Google respects this decision).

A box will pop up to explain a few things to you. You can choose to cancel or proceed to pause the feature.

Deleting and listening to your voice and audio

7. Just under the blue switch in the image above, is a link to manage your activity. Select it.

8. On this page, you should be able to listen to and delete recordings.

If you can’t find the Google app on your device or the steps above look different on your iPhone, Huawei and so on, start the process hereinstead and continue from the “Data & Personalisation” tab. Be sure you are signed in, to the account you normally use.

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