Do you use Google Assistant? If you’ve ever said, “OK Google” and asked your phone a question, then you’ve used Google Assistant.
Well, you may be surprised to learn that Google is recording your voice every time you say, “OK Google”. Google not only records your voice, but the company also saves the audio file and posts it online where you can listen to it.
It’s true. Don’t believe me? Visit your My Activity page on Google here: https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity
From there, you can see all of the data that Google has stored about you across Chrome, Google Search, Android, Maps, and your news and image searches.
All of that is unsurprising – you knew Google was storing all of your search data and Chrome history. But look for a subheading titled “voice” (press Ctrl+F and search for “voice” if you’re having trouble finding it).
Click that link, and you should be taken to a subheading filled with audio files of your voice. You can see the specific voice commands recorded by Google, and you can even click the “play” button to listen to your real voice speaking that command.
That’s right: every time you said, “OK Google”, your phone wasn’t just listening to your command: your phone was recording your command, saving the file, and then uploading that audio file online to track your activity.
Android Can Even Record Your Voice Without Asking
To make this issue even more frightening, users have reported finding audio files when they didn’t even ask their phone a question.
Google has been caught recording conversations that start with words like, “OK”, for example. Many users report saying things like, “OK go for it”, only to find those conversations recorded on their My Activity page later.
Take a quick peek through your activity page to see if Google quietly recoded any conversations involving you. Personally, my feed is filled with legitimate questions I asked Google – including plenty of embarrassing search requests. However, I can see how this feature could get some people in trouble.
At the very least, it’s awkward to visit a website online and be able to listen to a recording of your voice – especially if your voice is nerdy as mine.
To be fair, Google outlines their policy regarding audio data here. By using Google Assistant, you agree to have your voice recorded and saved. As far as we can tell, Google doesn’t actually store your audio data with third parties like advertisers – although the company certainly shares your search terms and search history with advertisers.
This will obviously make some Android users uncomfortable. Others, however, might just have a reaction of “meh”. Does it make you uncomfortable to know that Google is recording audio you’re your phone? Let us know in the comments below.