How to Make Sure Google Home Doesn’t Know Too Much About You

This woman values convenience — and her privacy.

Google Home is revolutionizing my morning routine. As soon as I wake up, I say, “Hey Google,” and ask “her” what the weather is like in Columbus, Ohio; for the latest news; or just to play some mood-boosting music.

This voice-activated speaker is impacting my daily life, and there’s a chance it’s impacting yours, too. In fact, there’s a 72 percent chance of that, according to a recent report released by Google. And while, for a lot of people, allowing this type of device into their home might be scary; for me, it’s just an electronic toy that — with the right privacy settings — can be very convenient. If you’re on the fence about this product, keep reading. I’ll walk you through three simple ways you can secure your data, so the chances of your life becoming the next science-fiction horror movie are very, very small.

Click to read more about how you can learn “Google Training” with the company’s new online course.

The More Data, the More Personalized

One of the first things you should keep in mind is that Google Home uses a pretty big amount of data about you and your interests. Think about it: Information about you is the only way it’s able to offer you personalized and precise answers. That’s why it is the secret sauce.

For instance, if you decide not to share where your work, then you won’t be able to ask, “How’s the traffic to work?” The less data you offer, the less useful it’s likely to be. It’s that simple.

Privacy Protection

Now, a lot has been said about the potential loss of privacy. It’s clear that a lot of people worry about having a digital assistant in their homes, always on and always listening. The question is: How can one adjust the privacy of his or her device while also maximizing what it can bring to the table?

More on Privacy Protection: The 11 Worst Data Breaches in the Last 10 Years

Well, here’s how I did it and how you can too.

No. 1: Be Selective With What You Link to the Device

If you won’t use it for making purchases, there’s no need for you to link your banking information. To manage what data you’re sharing, tap “Device” in your Google Home menu and then select “Settings.” You’ll have a clear picture about the personal details you’re sharing.

No. 2: Review Your Voice Recordings — and Delete as Necessary

Google Home is always listening by default. But it won’t record any conversation until you say, “Hey, Google,” or “OK, Google.” That’s when your voice activity will be stored. You can review these recordings at any time by going to the “My Activity” page. Delete them if needed.

Read: How Big Data Buys Your Identity

No. 3: Set Up Multi-User Access

Both my boyfriend and I use the same device, so the voice recognition feature comes in very handy. To set it up, go to “Settings” again and you’ll see the multi-user access. Easy as pie. Now the Google Home will differentiate who’s speaking and will answer accordingly.

Still Thinking It Over?

If you’re on the fence about turning to a voice-activated speaker like Google Home, you need to ask yourself what will you use it for. Will you use it to ask questions? Will you use it to schedule events on your calendar? Will you use it to play music? Will you use it to follow step-by-step cooking recipes? If you answered yes to any of these, then I assure you, you’ll find it well worth it.

Click to read more about ways to protect yourself using your bank’s security features.

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