Tech

Google’s Response to Data Storing Allegations via Home Products

In today’s world, while technology has reached new heights, the concept of privacy has taken a new meaning. We have seen Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook being scrutinised in front of the whole world. Not to mention, lately Google and Amazon (with their Alexa) have come under a lot of heat as well. While these companies do provide us with excellent home products that make our transitions smart, these items require constant awareness. By constant awareness, I refer to the sensors looking for a sound or movement so they can start working.

Stemming from 2016 when the world was introduced to the likes of WikiLeaks. Not only did the papers reveal illegal assets but Julian Assange single handedly outted the government for spying on citizens. While this has been quite a popular opinion that NSA is always keeping a watch out, people have become quite aware of this notion turned fact. There have been massive campaigns regarding the breach of privacy by these organisations and the government. It was not long ago that people protested against the government agencies keeping tabs on the internet. While the constitution for basic human rights does dictate the freedom of speech and not to mention the liberty to exhibit our own opinion, this constant lurking by the government kills the notion completely.

Where Google Fits In

Coming back to Google. Due to recent exhibitions in court houses as well, Google has come under quite some stress with their Home Technology. Since it is no surprise that Google is a self growing machine which grows with the Data is has and learns from. This means that the firm is actively acquiring data all the time. This came to be quite the concern given that Google records and stores voice data from its Home devices. According to a report by WinFuturepeople at the tech giant have come up with a genuine reason for its “intrusion” of sorts.

Google Home
The Google Home Lineup and Hub are one of the most popular smart home products today

What seems and sounds like a hoax, Google presented its rebuttal in a blog post. While it is well known that Google provides a wide range of its smart assistant products. These include the Google Home, the Home Mini, Home Max and not to mention, its very recent addition, the Google Nest Hub lineup. Apart from these, the company boasts its unmatched services in multilingual environments. While it is true that no other company rivals the search engine giants when it comes to data but that certainly does not give them the liberty to do what they do.

Coming back to Google’s response to the situation. According to the blog post, representatives mention how Google is the foremost authority and company when it comes to multilingual communication between technology. It mentions the world of Google Translate and how it is integrated with almost anything foreign to people. Take the Pixel buds, for example. They allow live translation within a conversation which is quite a feat to achieve, albeit, not executed properly. It is perhaps our time that should be blamed, not the company. Then the blog post goes on to comment on how its home products function. Not only do they recognise user’s voices, but they have the ability to learn certain word pronunciations. Not to mention, different dialect learning and understanding of accents is one of the features of the Google Home products which makes up their learning algorithm. According to Google, in order to make these services even more flawless and better, it has to record voices of its users to feed into the learning algorithm.

What We Can Take From This

While Google’s reasoning for its actions does make some sense, I still believe that it does not give it the right to use user information like that. Perhaps, there should be a participation notice for this protocol and those who wish to participate may go ahead with it. The option of having to choose would definitely make the difference. Ending that blog post, Google does just that. While it is still not an actual fix, Google gives users an option to pick whether their data is deleted immediately or after 3 or 6 months. While still not a perfect solution, its a step in the right direction.


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