You probably already figured that Google keeps track of your web searches, but did you know that the Internet giant may be storing recordings of your voice?
We recently discovered these audio files on the My Activity page, which is available at myactivity.google.com.
Google may be recording your voice
When you get to the My Activity page, you'll see a timeline of activity across Google products, including websites you've searched and visited, as well as images and videos you've viewed.
Your current privacy settings will determine what exactly is displayed on your timeline.
Listen to the recordings
For example, I used the voice-control feature to set a timer on my Android smartphone. Google saved the recording. So when I clicked play, I heard exactly what I said using “Ok Google.”
Here’s how Google explains the audio that it stores:
When you use audio activation commands, such as "Ok Google" or touching the microphone icon, your private Voice & Audio Activity stores some voice and other audio to your account. A recording of the following speech/audio, plus a few seconds before, will be stored.
Delete the files
Google says it stores the recordings to improve your experience with the voice search feature.
If you want to delete the audio files permanently, Google makes it easy for you to do that by navigating to “Delete activity by” on the top left of the My Activity page.
Using the drop-down, select “All time” as the date, choose “Voice & Audio” under the product menu and click delete.
Change your settings
Finally, you may want to change your settings to prevent future recordings of your voice and other audio from being saved to your Google account.
From the navigation bar on the left, click “Activity controls” and then pause “Voice & Audio Activity.”
Here’s what Google says about making this change:
When Voice & Audio Activity is off, voice inputs won't be saved to your Google Account, even if you're signed in. Instead, they may only be saved using anonymous identifiers.
Review your privacy settings
Google wants you to know that the information listed on the My Activity page is private.
In addition to the audio files, Google may be keeping records of your past web searches, location history, YouTube views and more. Here's a step-by-step guide to delete that data as well.
And take this time to run Google's Privacy Checkup tool to review and adjust your privacy settings.