Is Google always listening to me?

In this article, we will talk about how to turn off google voice so read the article till the end to learn everything. The question of whether Google is always listening to us or not is kind of scary and intrusive, isn’t it? It in fact brings a slight sense of discomfort to know that nothing really is confidential anymore. It raises alarms in terms of privacy and security of the end users. Before making any judgments let us understand a little bit about Google and what exactly it is recording from our device and how. Google LLC is known to the world for its search engine.

You are probably reading this article even on their browser called google chrome. Knowingly or unknowingly we are using or coming in contact with a lot of Google products. Overall, Google LLC is an American-based organization they are known for developing and managing thousands of customer-centric products and keeping data security as its top priority. 

All Android or iOS devices nowadays come pre-installed with one of the google features called the Google Assistant. It is an Artificial Intelligence powered virtual voice assistant that makes your life a lot easier. You can give it simple commands and execute simple day-to-day actions like setting alarms, calling somebody, putting up a grocery list or searching something on google. 

How does Google Assistant work?

The Google Assistant on your phone is programmed in such a way that it keeps sleeping on your phone and listens to all your conversations. What is the most important thing to note here is that in this sleep state it does not record anything or send it to Google. It does listen to keywords or wait for them. Now, this leads us to our next question: how do we know when the google assistant is asleep or awake? It is very simple, it awakens only when we explicitly call it and the magic words here are “Ok Google”. Once it hears you say those words, it becomes active to listen and record the next command you say. With this, we can deduce that the google assistant only records and stores what we say after saying the wake phrase.

Is Google always listening to me
Is Google always listening to me?

Interestingly, Google provides you full control to listen to whatever it has stored of your interaction with the google assistant. You can do so by following the simple steps below:

  • Launch your web browser and log in to your Google account.
  • Click on My Activity and scroll down to open the “Web and App Activity” option.
  • On the next screen, click on Manage activity and select filter by date and product.
  • On the next pop-up screen, scroll down to find “Voice and Audio” and check it.
  • Click on Apply
  • Now you should be able to see all your voice recordings that google has stored.

If you still feel insecure then you can even delete these recordings in the delete activity section of the activities page. That gives a sigh of relief right?

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What does google do with my conversations?

Google is working day and night to improve its artificial Intelligence domain and one of its coolest products of it is the Google Assistant. We all do have to agree that the voice search command comes in pretty handy when your hands are full, right? This is exactly what Google wants to achieve. They want to provide a rich user experience with the voice search feature. And that is only possible when they train their AI assistant model with millions and billions of commands in different accents and tones to improve voice recognition. As discussed above these recordings get stored online in our google account and can easily be accessed and deleted if needed.

Although Google or any of its contenders have never agreed, it is suspected that these recordings are even used to display customized ads on a user’s screen which generates a huge amount of revenue. We all have experienced this and if not just observe now. Whenever you even think about something, you start seeing the ads for it. It means that something is tracking our online and offline behavior, right? Something to definitely think about!

How to turn off google voice?

In this segment, let us move on to understand how to turn off google voice completely in a few simple steps. Out of curiosity, I would definitely like to know what brings you here and why are you logging in to disable this feature. At this point, it is important to highlight that the google assistant was created to help users with their day-to-day activities and improve the overall user experience. It is developed and managed by Google and therefore is trustworthy and safe. But there are still some theories that say that all our conversations are being heard by google. In my opinion, even if it is true, there is not much to worry about because Google is known for its privacy policies. Now let us dig right into the methods to turn off google voice.

Turn off Google voice search

Google voice search is a software product launched and maintained by Google. It allows users to simply say out loud whatever they want and it would search the same for them. This is an easier way for many people to search for something online. On the other hand, if you want to turn off google voice search you can do even that with the following simple steps:

  • Unlock your device and launch the google app.
  • Click on the more option, the three vertical dots on the top right of the screen
  • Now, scroll down to find settings and click on it
  • On the next page, click on the Voice option
  • On the next page, click on the voice match option and toggle it to off state.

When you are on the voice match screen, you will see that it gives you an option to keep it enabled while driving only. When you are driving on the road, it comes in very handy so you might want to give it a shot. Anyways, now that we know how to turn off the google voice search, it is even easier to turn it back on. You just have to follow the same steps and in the last stage toggle, the voice match option to on state, and you will be good to go again. You can even make google recognize more than one voice so that it works for all the members of the family who use it.

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Turn off Google Assistant

In this method, you will be turning off the entire google assistant and not just one part of it. Please follow the simple steps below:

  • Unlock your device and launch the google app.
  • Click on the more option, the three vertical dots on the top right of the screen
  • Now, scroll down to find settings and click on it
  • On the next page, scroll down to find google assistant and click on it
  • Next, go to the assistant tab
  • Scroll down to find the Assistant devices heading and expand it
  • In this section, you will be able to see all your devices. Select the device you want to disable google assistant on.
  • On the next screen, you can simply toggle the Google Assistant option to off state to disable it on the selected device.

As discussed in the previous method, the steps to enable are simpler. You just have to follow the same procedure you did to disable the feature but this time just toggle the google assistant option to on state and you will be good to go with google assistant on the selected device. Once you get comfortable with it, you may also selectively disable this feature when you feel you are in a very high confidential discussion. And then enable it once you are done.

Disable Google Microphone

Going one step ahead, in the previous method we just disabled the feature from google only. Now, in this case, what we are going to do is a sure-shot way to ensure that google is not listening. In simple terms, this is like taking away google’s ears. All kinds of listening happen through our device’s ears known as the Microphone. What if we do not let any application access microphones? We are essentially cutting ties and snatching away the permissions from Google to listen to anything by accessing the microphone. Let us understand how to do it with the below easy-to-follow steps”

  • Unlock your device and open the settings option of your device.
  • Scroll down to find the apps and notifications section and click on it
  • On the next page, you will be able to see all the installed apps on your device, scroll down to find the google app, and click on it.
  • Now you will find yourself landing at the Google app page
  • Click on Permissions
  • Scroll down and find the Microphone option. Toggle it to the off state.
  • Click on “Deny Anyway” on the next pop-up screen you see

With this step, you will be able to disable google’s microphone completely and ensure that google is not at all able to hear you. At this point it is important to highlight that by doing this you will be depriving yourself of the amazing features built to make our user experience better and our lives easier.

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Conclusion

To sum it all up, Artificial intelligence is the future of technology. It can enable a machine to execute anything and everything that a human can in a better and more efficient way. Google Assistant is one such AI-based tool that comes in very handy in day-to-day life.  If machines start performing basic human tasks which are repetitive and monotonous then it gives us a great opportunity to use our intelligence and intellect in better places and create amazing things, right? However, it should maintain a balance and machines should not start overpowering humans.

Both the extremities would prove to be disastrous and hence it is very important to hit that sweet spot. Moreover, as we all know, excess of anything is harmful so even this wonderful technology should be within a limit. There is a very thin line between accessing certain data like our conversations in this case for a good purpose or misusing it and breaching privacy. Whether to use this voice assistant or not is each individual’s personal choice. I hope that in this article on how to turn off google voice completely, we were able to understand enough about this feature. And in addition to that, be able to decide whether we want to keep it or not and learn how to do it. 

FAQs

What is Google voice and why do we need it?

Google voice aka Google assistant aka Ok Google is a very useful tool that can be used to accomplish daily activities like setting up an alarm, calling someone, sending a message, and many more just by voice commands and without even using your hands.

Is Google assistant the same as Apple’s Siri?

Well, in terms of how it works, yes both are artificial intelligence-powered voice assistants. But, the only difference is that Siri is available only on Apple devices whereas google assistant can be used on android as well as Mac.

If I disable google microphone, will I be able to enable it later?

Yes absolutely, It is very easy to enable it back. Just follow the same steps and toggle the off switch to on or vice versa.

Will google ever misuse my data and conversations?

Firstly, as per an official google comment, they do not record or store any conversation. It just records the commands given after saying Ok Google. Moreover, Google is a very reputed organization and is known for maintaining the security and privacy of its users so there is no need to panic but just be vigilant.

Is Google trustworthy?

Yes, it is. It is a legally built organization following all the rules and regulations framed under the law. They abide by them to keep user security and experience at the top.

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