Google Admits Employees Listen To Private Recordings From Your Home

Language experts listen to anonymous recordings in an effort to improve Google's voice recognition technology.

Google Home smart speakers have simplified or otherwise bettered the lives of plenty of technology consumers, but is that convenience worth it knowing that a Google employee might be listening to our conversations?

According to The Independent, Google — following in the footsteps of Amazon earlier this year — has acknowledged that a small number of the company’s language experts listen to audio recordings collected by their devices, which includes Android phones, in order to improve its voice recognition technology.

Like Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Home “assistant understands and responds to voice commands given to it, answering queries about the news and weather as well as being able to control other internet-connected devices around the home.”

Google said in a statement that only a small number of recordings are transcribed by its language experts, and those “snippets are not associated with user accounts as part of the review process,” the company said.

Google’s statement came in response to the leak of some Dutch audio data, which the company said it is currently investigating.

“We just learned that one of these reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data.

“Our Security and Privacy Response teams have been activated on this issue, are investigating, and we will take action.

The statement concluded: “We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again.”

Read the full report.