Should we be concerned about this?
Maybe. You may or may not know that Google already records and retains all your Google activity. This includes keeping an audio transcript of everything you say whenever you activate Google’s digital assistant. Alexa does the same thing. You can review and delete these messages, but they are there.
You can see your Google audio transcripts by visiting https://myactivity.google.com and filtering the content to “Voice & Audio”.
When we tried this, we found that many snippets of conversations had been captured and could be replayed at the touch of a button. This included personal or work related conversations that could have included sensitive material. Try it yourself, it’s a little unnerving.
We’re not discussing anything nefarious here – but why does this make me uneasy? The thing is, these tech firms say they need to capture and retain this content to help fine tune the accuracy of their digital assistants. Maybe…but still.
On that note, whilst Alexa is the star of this year’s CES event, newly arriving Google Home (not yet available in the UK) may yet win the race. The search giant may be a late comer to the personal assistant device party but it’s own Google Assistant should, on paper, have access to a wider range of information than Amazon.
If only it had a more personal name than “Google”. My bet is that it will sooner than we think.