While Google asserts that they do not listen to users through their Google Assistant-enabled devices, it turns out that the company has kept recordings of your conversations with Google Assistant, and that apparently there are contractors hired by Google who are actually listening to them.
This is according to a whistleblower who reached out to Belgian broadcaster VRT News and told them about what was going on, where it seems that contractors were given recordings of Google Assistant conversations. What’s even more disturbing is the fact that some of these recordings were recorded even without the user triggering the device with they “Hey Google” phrase.
According to Google, they claim that they are listening to these recordings in a bid to help improve on their voice recognition technology, and that only 0.2% of all audio clips are being transcribed. The report adds that Google had apparently attempted to anonymize these recordings as much as possible, but according to VRT and from what they’ve heard, there are clips in which it is possible to identify the people in there, like where they stay.
We’re not sure if Google plans to cease these practices now that the cat is out of the bag, although it does feel unlikely. This report seems to be similar in nature to an earlier report, where it was revealed that Amazon apparently keeps transcripts of users’ conversations with Alexa.