Not everyone is bothered that Google has stored their voice searches and with the security measures that are used, no-one but you should ever know what you have said. Some people just don’t like the idea of Google storing things they have said and wonder what the company might be doing with the recordings and who else might get to listen to them. Imagine what would happen if someone got into your account, for example.
Firstly, they should not be able to unless you are particularly poor at picking passwords and use easily guessed ones for your Google account. Secondly, you can delete your voice searches and commands, and disable voice features (sort of).
Let’s take a look at what Google has stored and what can be done about it.
1 Go to your account
Open a web browser and click your picture in the top right corner (assuming you are signed in to Google – sign in if you are not). Click the blue My Account button.
2 Privacy settings
On the next page, locate the Personal info & privacy section a little way down the page and click the heading.
3 Find your voice searches
The next page is long and you might have to scroll down a fair way to get to the section that accesses your voice searches and command. There is an on/off switch here, but do not click it yet because we will come back to it later. Click MANAGE ACTIVITY
4 Voice & Audio Activity
At last we have a list of the voice searches you have made using Google. It is organised in reverse date order with the most recent items at the top of the page. It lists the days you used voice search, the time you used it, and what you said. You can even hear yourself speaking by clicking the Play button underneath each item.
5 Select and delete
Tick the recordings you want to erase or tick the date to remove everything you said on that date. Then click the DELETE link at the top. Every selected item is then erased.
6 Turn off voice recording
Remember the voice searches and commands on/off switch back in step 3? If you turn it off, this happens.
The activity is paused, but it has this to say “Google may also continue to collect and store audio data in an anonymised way.” That does not exactly inspire confidence and even when this feature is turned off, your voice searches and commands may still be recorded. Shouldn’t the off button mean off?
Pause the facility if you prefer.