Google resumes optional analysis of Dutch voice recordings from Assistant | NOW

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The recordings people make with their Google Assistant can, after approval by the user, end up with analysts who listen to the voice commands. Work will also be resumed for the Dutch-language recordings made with the voice assistant, a Google spokesperson told NU.nl on Wednesday.

A year ago it turned out that recordings of the Google Assistant can be listened to by people, without them being explicitly informed. The ball started to roll after an employee shared audio recordings with the Flemish news service VRT NWS.

The recordings of the Google Assistant are listened to by people in order to improve the voice assistant. The audio clips are written out, for example to better understand what someone is saying in a noisy environment, or to teach the Assistant to distinguish between different users from the same household, the Google spokesperson said.

Google emphasizes that users must give their consent before audio recordings go to the analysts, and that this permission is not required to use the Assistant. The option of recording audio recordings is disabled by default in Google settings.

Not all recordings are listened to by analysts if users give their consent. The spokesperson could not immediately say on Wednesday evening whether Google is working on a function that allows users to see which recordings have been sent from them.

In addition to Google, Apple also came under fire a year ago for letting people listen to recordings. This also happened with Dutch recordings, according to research by NU.nl. Apple also stopped this, but resumed letting people listen to fragments in the fall.

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