Gadgets

How to listen to (and delete) everything you’ve ever said to Google

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David Cornish
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Ever since Google rolled out its "Ok Google" voice search function for smartphones, we've taken considerable delight in pissing off the wider public by loudly dictating our daily search engine queries.

"Ok Google, what are the common causes of a rash?"

"Ok Google, what's the best way to dispose of a human corpse?"

"Ok Google, where is Jamie Vardy having his party?"

It turns out that joke might have been on us all along. Did you know that Google actually records every single inane voice query you shout at your handset? 

Just head over to Google’s Voice and Audio Activity page and you'll be presented with a history of audio inputs you've sent to Google. From this page you can listen to all your audio interactions and delete them individually. 

One particularly creepy aspect of the recordings is that they start before you utter the words "Ok Google". This means that your Android phone is listening to you all the time, waiting for its cue of "Ok Google" before it acts on what you've requested.

Sure, you'll have given permission for Google to do this by virtue of signing up to use the service in the first place, but it's an unnerving insight nonetheless. Thumbs up to Google for showing you exactly what you're sharing - Apple doesn't let you do the same with Siri.

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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