WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Some of the most wonderful new technologies are Amazon Echo and Google Home, plus any device that has Alexa and Google Assistant built in.
- These cloud-based voice services are actually practical to have around.
- Although these intelligent personal assistants’ microphones are always on, they don’t do anything until you “wake them up”.
Alexa and Google Assistant are now becoming most people’s favorite personal voice assistants. Whether you want to control your “smart home” or just play your music playlist, these voice-controlled services are simply useful.
But if you’re wondering what these devices do to all the voices they capture, here’s the good news. Alexa and Google Assistant don’t do anything with your voice until you say their “wake word.” It is just ‘OK Google’ or ‘Alexa’, respectively.
Don’t be alarmed because neither Amazon nor Google is keeping track of every single word you say. When you activate these voice assistants by saying the “wake word” your Alexa and Google Assistant begin recording. The voice recordings are moved to the cloud.
The hardware, however, is not pretty smart. When you ask who the 33rd president of the United States was, or what the ingredients for a lemon meringue pie are, the voice assistants will get the information from the entire internet. It only means that a distant server is what actually processes your request.
All your requests will stay on that server unless you delete them. That’s quite easy because Amazon and Google show you what requests they’ve logged.
In Alexa, go to Settings > History to see what Amazon saved on file, then you can delete them one by one. To clear everything, go to Your Devices > Echo Dot > Manage voice recordings. There will be a pop-up that will let you delete the whole cache.
For Google Assistant, you need to go to myactivity.google.com. You can delete your all voice requests in there. All you have to do is click on the three-dot line in the upper-right corner, then Delete activity by. And you can set a date range: today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, all time, or custom. Then the service you want to get rid of. Click on All products, then choose Voice & Audio, then hit Delete. Click OK when you get a pop-up asking if you’re positively sure you want to delete it.
And if Echo and Home are still creeping you out, you can actually put them on mute. The Echo’s mute button is on top while Google Home’s is at the back.