Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File). FILE - In this June 14, 2018, photo, an Amazon Echo, center, and a Google Home, right, are displayed in New York. Google contractors are listening to some recordings of people talking to Assistant, either on their phone ... (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File). FILE - In this June 14, 2018, photo, an Amazon Echo, center, and a Google Home, right, are displayed in New York. Google contractors are listening to some recordings of people talking to Assistant, either on their phone ...
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2018, file photo a Google Home Hub is displayed in New York. Google contractors are listening to some recordings of people talking to Assistant, either on their phone or through smart speakers such ... (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2018, file photo a Google Home Hub is displayed in New York. Google contractors are listening to some recordings of people talking to Assistant, either on their phone or through smart speakers such ...

By BY RACHEL LERMAN
AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Google contractors regularly listen to and review some recordings of what people say to artificial-intelligence system Google Assistant, via their phone or through smart speakers such as the Google Home.

The company acknowledged that humans can access those recordings after some of its Dutch language audio snippets were leaked. Google product manager David Monsees acknowledged the leak in a blog post Thursday, and said the company is investigating the breach.

"We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again," he wrote.

More than 1,000 recordings were obtained by Belgian broadcaster VRT NWS, which noted in a story that some contained sensitive personal conversations - as well as information that identified the person speaking. Google says no user account information is associated with the recordings, and reviewers are instructed not to transcribe background conversations.

But VRT reporters could hear spoken home addresses in some of the recordings, and were able to track down the speakers. Some of these conversations were not directed at Assistant and happened either as background noise or as a mistaken recording when Assistant thought it was being spoken to, but wasn't.

Google says contractors listen to recordings to better understand language patterns and accents. Its user terms confirm recordings may be used by the company, stating Assistant "records your voice and audio on Google services to improve speech recognition."

Monsees wrote that Google works with contractors around the world to analyze the recordings.

"These language experts review and transcribe a small set of queries to help us better understand those languages," he wrote.

Google's terms don't explicitly say that people review the recordings, but do state that data could be analyzed as the company updates services or create new features.

The company acknowledged earlier this year that its reviewers listen to anonymous recordings in response to a Bloomberg report revealing that Amazon's Alexa also uses contractors to listen to recordings. Amazon confirmed the report.

Google's recording feature can be turned off, but doing so means Assistant loses some of its personalized touch. People who turn off the recording feature lose the ability for the Assistant to recognize individual voices and learn your voice pattern.

Assistant recording is actually turned off by default - but the technology prompts users to turn on recording and other tools in order to get personalized features.

Google Assistant is available on more than 1 billion devices, including smartphones and smart speakers. It's made quite a dent in the smart speaker market - still the primary place where people use voice technology - but still trails behind Amazon.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Hot ClicksHot ClicksMore>>

  • Police officer in 'I can't breathe' death won't be charged

    Police officer in 'I can't breathe' death won't be charged

    Tuesday, July 16 2019 1:12 PM EDT2019-07-16 17:12:22 GMT
    (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File). FILE - In this May 13, 2019, file photo, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo leaves his house in Staten Island, N.Y. Time is running out for federal prosecutors to take action in the 2014 death of Eric G...(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File). FILE - In this May 13, 2019, file photo, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo leaves his house in Staten Island, N.Y. Time is running out for federal prosecutors to take action in the 2014 death of Eric G...
    (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File). FILE - In this May 13, 2019, file photo, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo leaves his house in Staten Island, N.Y. Time is running out for federal prosecutors to take action in the 2014 death of Eric G...(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File). FILE - In this May 13, 2019, file photo, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo leaves his house in Staten Island, N.Y. Time is running out for federal prosecutors to take action in the 2014 death of Eric G...
    AP source: Federal prosecutors won't bring civil rights charges against a New York City police officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner.More >>
    AP source: Federal prosecutors won't bring civil rights charges against a New York City police officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner.More >>
  • Old software makes new electoral systems ripe for hacking

    Old software makes new electoral systems ripe for hacking

    Tuesday, July 16 2019 1:12 PM EDT2019-07-16 17:12:17 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Rourke). In this June 13, 2019, photo, Steve Marcinkus, an Investigator with the Office of the City Commissioners, demonstrates the ExpressVote XL voting machine at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. An analysis by The Associat...(AP Photo/Matt Rourke). In this June 13, 2019, photo, Steve Marcinkus, an Investigator with the Office of the City Commissioners, demonstrates the ExpressVote XL voting machine at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. An analysis by The Associat...
    (AP Photo/Matt Rourke). In this June 13, 2019, photo, Steve Marcinkus, an Investigator with the Office of the City Commissioners, demonstrates the ExpressVote XL voting machine at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. An analysis by The Associat...(AP Photo/Matt Rourke). In this June 13, 2019, photo, Steve Marcinkus, an Investigator with the Office of the City Commissioners, demonstrates the ExpressVote XL voting machine at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. An analysis by The Associat...
    AP analysis finds many new electoral systems still run on old software that will soon be outdated and more vulnerable to hackers.More >>
    AP analysis finds many new electoral systems still run on old software that will soon be outdated and more vulnerable to hackers.More >>
  • Retail rivals crash Amazon's Prime Day party

    Retail rivals crash Amazon's Prime Day party

    Tuesday, July 16 2019 1:12 PM EDT2019-07-16 17:12:15 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2018, file photo a box for an Amazon prime customer moves through the new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sacramento, Calif. This year Prime Day is happening on two days: Monday, July 15, 2019, and...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2018, file photo a box for an Amazon prime customer moves through the new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sacramento, Calif. This year Prime Day is happening on two days: Monday, July 15, 2019, and...
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2018, file photo a box for an Amazon prime customer moves through the new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sacramento, Calif. This year Prime Day is happening on two days: Monday, July 15, 2019, and...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2018, file photo a box for an Amazon prime customer moves through the new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sacramento, Calif. This year Prime Day is happening on two days: Monday, July 15, 2019, and...
    Amazon's Prime Day is coming with a wave of deals _ and protests.More >>
    Amazon's Prime Day is coming with a wave of deals _ and protests.More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms