Your Google smart speaker is always listening—here’s how to delete the recordings
These are the steps you can take to protect your privacy from Google
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These days, everything from the temperature in your house to the locks on your doors can be managed with a simple voice command to your favorite smart speaker, saving you time and stress while also allowing you to create the perfect home ambiance.
But for every “Hey Google” you call out, there’s a recording of your request backed up on your Google account. And while Google Assistant isn’t meant to record your conversations unless you drop one of the wakeup commands ("Hey, Google," or "OK, Google"), the tech sometimes mishears what you’re saying.
(Have an Echo speaker? Here's how to delete your Alexa voice recordings)
It could begin recording because of something uttered on your favorite television show or similar phrasing you repeat during a phone conversation with a friend.
Even worse, each and every one of those recordings has the potential to be heard by Google employees. It's unsettling to think about when you consider how much private information you share from within the confines of your own home.
What are Google Assistant recordings used for?
It sounds sinister: A giant tech company listening in on your conversations and recording information you may not want others to hear. But the truth is, Google uses these recordings to provide you with a better all-around experience. According to Google, the primary goal in creating these recordings is to help Assistant better learn the sound of your voice and the words and phrases you use.
Google claims that Nest smart speakers only start recording when the wakeup commands are given, and the company has recently decreased the number of recordings that are reviewed by humans.
But for privacy advocates (and anyone else who fears their private recordings may be misused), it’s fair to want to do away with the conversations stored in the cloud for potential review.
How to review stored Google Assistant recordings
Thankfully, Google makes it incredibly easy to manage the voice and audio recordings saved by your Google Home speakers. To start with, you can view exactly what’s been recorded by going to your Google Account.
- Go to your Google settings
- Click Data & Personalization on the left navigation panel
- Select Web & App Activity > Manage Activity in the Activity Controls Panel
- Filter the results to show only Assistant activity
Once there, you can view and play your past recordings
To delete any recordings, you just need to select the More icon (three vertical dots) and click Delete.
How to delete all Google Assistant recordings
If you’d prefer to delete all the recordings at once, you can select the More (three dots) icon at the top right of your screen and then:
- Click Delete Activity By
- Choose All Time
- Follow the prompts
How to disable Google Assistant recordings completely
These recordings really are meant to improve your user experience. But if you decide you just aren’t comfortable with them, or if you’d simply prefer to not have to regularly go through the deletion process, you can turn the voice and audio recordings off entirely.
Simply return to your Google account and then:
- Select Data & Personalization on the left navigation panel
- Choose Web & App Activity from the Activity Controls Panel
- Uncheck the box next to Include voice and audio recordings
And just like that, you never have to worry about Google Assistant storing your conversations again.