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Google resumes human review of Assistant recordings with a major change

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Google Home with blue lighting behind it

Google Home with blue lighting behind itSource: Harish Jonnalagadda/Android Central

What you need to know

  • Google has resumed the human review program for Assistant audio recordings.
  • The search giant had halted the human review program over privacy concerns in September last year.
  • However, Google will now save your Assistant recordings only if you choose to.

In July last year, a report had revealed that Google uses human workers to review audio clips recorded by its Home smart speakers and the Assistant app, without the knowledge of its customers. Google responded to the report saying that only 0.2% of all audio recordings are transcribed by humans and they are not linked to any personal information. Two months later, Google updated its policies and halted the human review process indefinitely.

Now, Google has started sending out an email to everyone who has used an app or service using its voice AI – telling them that they can now review and enable the audio recording setting if they choose (via The Verge). The setting is off by default on all devices, including the company's smart home devices powered by the Assistant.

You can help improve the products you use by saving your audio from Search, Assistant and Maps and letting trained reviewers analyze a sample of it. Audio will be saved only if you choose to.

If you opt-in and allow your audio interactions with the Google Assistant to be saved, the recordings will be used to improve voice matching on your device and also help improve Google's audio recognition technologies for everyone. Google says it only sends audio snippets to human reviewers and anonymizes the data beforehand, which makes it impossible for them to link a recording to a specific account. If you created your Google account after June 24, your voice recordings will automatically be deleted after 18 months. Google users with older accounts can manually choose to have their recordings deleted after six or eighteen months.

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