How Much Does Google Know About You?

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Google admits listening to your conversations

As we explore the most known brands in our Internet of Things series, it’s impossible to ignore one of the biggest brands in the industry – Google. With their Home devices, they have become a big player in the smart device market and have sold tens of millions of devices. You may see them as a search engine, but Google is so much more than that now!

In 2019, audio captured from its smart technology, Google Assistant was leaked by a partner. This involved over 1,000 conversations that included confidential business calls and personally identifiable information, and no one would want this out there. Google attempted to justify this by stating it only does with 0.2% of recordings to improve its AI systems.

Not every conversation in this leak was triggered by the wake command – 10% of these conversations were not triggered by the “Ok Google” phrase which tells the software to listen. People have reported that their Google Home device has randomly started listening during the night! Being safe should always be the priority, and this leak proves these devices may not be as safe as you think.

What data does Google Assistant store?

You can find out what data Google is taking from you. Finding your Google Home data is easy and can be found here, and choosing which source data would want to download. One of our colleagues at Revoke downloaded their data and was shocked at the result. Over 15GB of data was downloaded! Some of this data included:

  • Photo album had deleted photos stored
  • Every single place searched in Google Maps
  • Apps opened on Android down to the exact second it was opened
  • Rewards cards used in Google Pay
  • Everything asked to the Google Assistant
  • Every comment left on YouTube and every video watched
  • Every Android app searched for or downloaded
  • Every news article read on Google News
  • Ads viewed or visited in any of Google’s products
  • All Gmail files including Spam and Trash

This is only a small sample size of the data that Google Home collects from you as our colleague found much more data included. Just imagine a breach of your device, how much information could a hacker get from a single device?

Google Home Smart Speaker

Adjusting your Google Home privacy settings

As with many smart devices, you can help protect your digital privacy through hidden methods in the settings of the Google Home app. Just follow the steps below!

  1. Select the account avatar at the top-right of the Google Home app.
  2. In the pop-up window, select ‘Assistant Settings’
  3. Select ‘Your Data’ in the Assistant.
  4. Select Web & App Activity and set your desired privacy settings.

The 2019 leak of data proves that even with the biggest, ‘most secure’ companies like Google, your data is not entirely safe. When buying a smart device, we always advise doing your research beforehand!

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