Monday, April 12

Google Assistant wants you to help it stop triggering by mistake

Some users may see an option appear in the Google Assistant options asking them to help the Mountain View firm improve its algorithms to avoid false positives.

“Ok Google” or “Hey Google” are the phrases that allow Google Assistant to activate on your smartphone. These voice commands are convenient, but are not exempt from a few minor operational issues.

Help Google Assistant improve

Everyone has already experienced these little hiccups: you say an innocuous sentence that the algorithms misinterpret and Google Assistant activates ready to listen to you when you have nothing to ask it. However, a new option is emerging to better avoid this.

As revealed by 9to5Google, a handful of users see a new function called “’Hey Google’ sensitivity” appear in their Google Assistant menu. Understand: “Ok Google” sensitivity.

This tab brings up a screen offering Google Assistant technologies related to voice and providing a more detailed explanation.

Save audio recordings to this device and help Google improve voice technologies for everyone. Your audio recordings remain on your device while privacy-preserving technology combines information from you and many other participants to help the Assistant learn over time and develop better, smart features.

In other words, users who activate this option will feed the artificial intelligence behind Google Assistant so that it no longer triggers by mistake and, conversely, activates well as soon as it is requested.

A similar function has already appeared on Google Home to prevent connected objects in the house, such as Smart Displays, from triggering unexpectedly.

What about data confidentiality?

To reassure about data privacy, Google specifies that audio recordings – up to 20 per day – are only saved on the phone. The firm’s servers, on the other hand, only receive a sort of report on the models detected that may pose a problem.

On the phone, recordings are encrypted – the process takes place when the device is idle, charging, or connected to Wi-Fi. The data is then automatically deleted after 63 days.

The process used here is called federated learning and already in use on Gboard. This allows information to be collected while preserving user anonymity, much like differential privacy on Google Maps.

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