Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, and Google Home are growing in popularity, mostly as a means to listen to music at this point. But they do a lot more than that, from answering questions to controlling the smart home.
These speakers have microphones that wait for a “wake word,” or a phrase that puts the speaker into full-on listening mode. On Google Home devices, which use the Google Assistant, the wake word is either “Hey Google” or “Okay Google,” whichever you prefer. (If you want, you can turn off all that active listening, though it defeats the purpose of having a smart speaker.)
In order to learn more about you and serve up the best answers (and ads), Google stores the audio of your questions and instructions to the Google Assistant. Don’t be shocked—companies like Google and its ilk aren’t in the habit of erasing your personal data if they don’t have to.
Echo devices have had problems with this. Google hasn’t. Yet. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant about what Google stores about you.
Thankfully, just as you can delete your history with Alexa on the Amazon Echo, so too can you delete the history of all you’ve said to the Google Assistant, whether via Google Home or even through your smartphone.