in Local Search

The Sun has picked up on that Google is using the audio we all provide every day into Android phones, to tune and refine the Audio search algorithm

Quoted:

If you own an Android phone, it’s likely that you’ve used Google’s Assistant, which is similar to Apple’s Siri.

Google says it only turns on and begins recording when you utter the words “OK Google”.

But a Sun investigation has found that the virtual assistant is a little hard of hearing.

In some cases, just saying “OK” in conversation prompted it to switch on your phone and record around 20 seconds of audio.

It regularly switches on the microphone as you go about your day-to-day activities, none the wiser.

The Silicon Valley giant states on its terms and conditions that it keeps these recordings for “improving speech recognition against all Google products that use your voice”.

After the Sun Online presented examples of the voice recognition flaws to Google, a spokesman said: “We only process voice searches after the phone believes the hot word ‘OK Google’ is detected. Audio snippets are used by Google to improve the quality of speech recognition across Search.”

You may notice the prominence in your own daily searches of new suggested search terms like “Near Me”, “nearby” “in my neighborhood”.  You might have also noticed search results with titles in the links that are illustrative of a voice search being used.  Such as “the best in Austin”, “top consultant in Austin” and the like.  That is Google Hummingbird‘s work.

Google is well known for using it’s users to tease out data points, and studying user behavior.  One could say that we users are taking part in this experiment, as we search away and peer our attention on the goings on all over the planet.

The Sun article has a handy tutorial in removing your Audio functions from Google, so that you are not being recorded.  This issue of defacto automated surveillance is going to have to be answered to the Market’s satisfaction, as more and more voice search is used by the likes of Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google’s Assistant.