If you have a Google Home or a Google Nest, Google HAS been recording you. Here’s a quick guide on how to stop it and delete all the data Google has stored on you…
I have both a Google Home and a Google Nest. They’re kind of useful, I guess. But I tend to find them more annoying than anything else – the AI is appalling unless you’re incredibly specific.
I had my suspicions about Google harvesting data and recordings from my home. It’s Google, after all – this is what it does best.
But it has now been confirmed: Google Home and Google Next devices, as well as Google Assistant, do listen to your private conversations.
Google confirmed this back in 2019, but I am now only just finding out about it. Google says snooping on its users is necessary to keep improving Google Assistant.
Here’s a statement from Google about why its Home and Nest devices listen to your private conversations.
“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,” David Monsees, product manager for Google Search.
“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.”Google.
After this statement came out in 2019, Google changed its policies – you now have to opt-in for Google to record private conversations in your home.
These recordings apply to ALL Google products, though, not just Home and Nest. It also applies to its Android phones and basically anything that has Google Assistant running on it.
But here’s the thing: I’ve had my Google Home and Nest for years, and I never got an opt-in request.
If you want to check how Google is using the data it collects about you, you can do so here.
How To Delete Data Google Has Collected On You
Fortunately, Google makes deleting any data it has on you pretty easy. All you have to do is go to Google’s My Activity. Inside here, you will be able to see all the information Google has been collecting on you.
You’ll find Google Maps data, recordings of your voice and/or conversations from Google Home and Nest devices, and much more besides.
If you haven’t opted out, I think you’ll be pretty disturbed by what you find inside Google’s My Activity.
With the Google Home data and recordings, deleting them is, again, pretty easy. Just follow these steps to delete all the data Google has collected about you via Google Home and Google Nest:
- Open Google’s My Activity
- Go To Web Activity > Manage Activity
- Click Filter By Date & Product > Check Voice & Audio
You should now see a list of voice recordings, listed in chronological order. You can then manually delete them one by one, or select a date range to delete them in bulk. I’d recommend the latter approach.
How To Turn Off Voice & Audio Data Collection In Google Home
If you have a Google Home or a Google Nest product, you can set it up so that Google cannot access and record your private conversations. To do this, follow these steps:
- Go To Google’s My Activity
- Select Activity Controls > Turn OFF Audio Recordings
- You Will Then Be Asked To Confirm Your Choice
The only downside of doing this is that voice searching with Google Assistant will no longer work.
In my mind, that’s fine. I’d much rather lose my voice-searching privileges than have Google listening in on private conversations in my home.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.