Smart Home

Google's new Guest Mode for smart speakers is a privacy must

The new privacy feature only takes seconds to enable.

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Google is giving users a new way to take charge over their privacy when using its smart speakers and displays. The new security feature, known as Guest Mode, keeps your personal data confidential while still allowing others to get the most out of Google Assistant—and it’s already available on your Google smart speaker. Here’s how it works.

What is Google’s new “Guest Mode” feature?

Guest Mode off
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

Guest Mode is a new privacy feature for Google smart speakers that, when enabled, doesn't store assistant activity and audio recordings, or provide personalized results.

The new feature, announced on Jan. 13, is ready for use on Google speakers and displays like the Google Nest Mini and Nest Hub Max. To turn it on, say, “Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode.”

When enabled, Google’s new Guest Mode feature won’t save any interactions with Google Assistant to your account. Guest Mode also prevents Google Assistant from displaying or sharing personal details like what's on your calendar or who’s in your contact list until you turn the setting off. It’s also a game changer if you have nosy kids always borrowing your Nest Hub for YouTube videos.

You’ll know that it is enabled because your Google smart speaker will play a chime sound, show a message on-screen (if you have a Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max smart display), and your Assistant will briefly explain what Guest Mode is each time it’s turned on.

When in Guest Mode, you can still ask Google Assistant to play music, get the local weather forecast, set timers, and control your smart home. Announcement features like Broadcast and Family Bell still work, and you can also still make calls to your household contacts. If you use your Nest Hub Max or Nest Hub smart display as a digital photo frame, your pictures will still be displayed in Guest Mode, too.

The catch with Guest Mode is that you won’t have access to a more personalized Google Assistant experience until you turn it back off.

When your guests are gone (or your kids are in bed for the day), you can easily disable the feature by asking Google to “turn off Guest Mode” and get back to enjoying your digital personal assistant. In an effort to give users ample control over their privacy, a feature like this should’ve been available from the get-go on Google smart speakers, but better late than never.

Keep in mind that Google says it doesn't store audio recordings by default, but it never hurts to give your privacy settings a quick tune-up and delete any Google voice recordings that may be saved in your account.

Amazon Echo devices don’t have a comparable feature to Google's Guest Mode. While there are many ways you can protect your privacy from Alexa, it would be nice for Amazon to introduce the Alexa version of Google's Guest Mode setting.

Related content

Up next