Google devices may have been recording you - here's how to turn off the feature

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 5:28 pm
Google and Amazon were revealed to be recording users in 2019. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Users of Google Home or Google Nest devices may have had their voice recorded while at home - but there are easy ways to check if recordings have been made and delete them.

In 2019, it was revealed that both Google and Amazon allow human contractors to listen to audio clips recorded in the homes of device users.

At the time, David Monsees, product manager for Google Search said:

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"As part of our work to develop speech technology for more languages, we partner with language experts around the world who understand the nuances and accents of a specific language.”

"These language experts review and transcribe a small set of queries to help us better understand those languages. This is a critical part of the process of building speech technology, and is necessary to create products like the Google Assistant,” he added.

Following a backlash from the revelations, Google changed its policy so Home or Nest users have to specifically opt-in to have their voice searches recorded.

If you’re unsure whether you opted in or not, or want to find out whether you’ve been recorded, there are ways to check.

All of your Google activity can be found in the "My Activity" section of your Google account.

You can either read a list of what’s been recorded or listen to your voice search history in this area if recordings have been taken.

You can also erase your history in this section.

To delete your recordings on a computer or laptop, you must go to myactivity.google.com and make sure you’re signed into the Gmail account linked with your device.

From there, click "Web & App Activity"; then go to "Manage Activity"; click "Filter by date and product"; and then check "Voice and Audio" in the list Google Products.

After pressing enter, you’ll see a list of commands you’ve given the device and can delete them.

You can visit the same page on your phone to delete recordings.

You can stop your device from recording you on myactivity.google.com by clicking on the settings bar, pressing “activity controls” and toggling audio recordings on or off.