Google Assistant’s “guest mode” for incognito use arrives

Google Assistant introduced guest mode on its speakers and smart displays that turns off personalized results and prevents voice assistant from recording data. Like incognito mode for web browsers it clearly draws its inspiration from, guest mode separates the interaction of any user account for privacy and to prevent their preferences from affecting your account.

Private browsing assistant

Anyone who owns a Google Nest speaker or smart display can turn on guest mode by asking Google Assistant to turn it on or off. When enabled, a small icon of a faceless person will appear in the corner, and users can verify by asking the voice assistant. While guest mode is active, all of Google Assistant will work largely the same, but it won’t check a user’s profile or saved data to determine the best answer. the box and has an owner with a brand new Google Account. Nothing that is said or done while guest mode is on is not recorded by Google either.

“It is our responsibility to respect your privacy, no matter what device you use,” Google product manager Philippe de Lurand Pierre-Paul explained in a blog post. “And as more people discover the convenience of smart speakers and displays, we want to make sure it’s as easy to control how Google Assistant works with your data as it is to play your favorite song. “

Google first announced guest mode in October and said it would arrive in a few weeks. The company didn’t mention any reason for the delay, although it could be technical issues. Notably, the new guest mode reuses the name of an old Google smart speaker function to connect a mobile device to a Google smart speaker to stream music without connecting to the device’s wifi network. This guest mode created a PIN code that the visitor could use instead. Google shut down this version of guest mode a year ago, except on Chromecast devices.

Power of confidentiality

Guest mode is primarily for what the name says, allowing a visitor to use the voice assistant without adding new data that might disrupt the preferences of the primary user. Pierre-Paul also describes how good Guest mode is at keeping surprises from other household members, such as a recipe he researched but didn’t want his family to know he was working on. But, while Google doesn’t save any data in Guest mode, that doesn’t prevent third-party apps from doing so. Music streaming services or navigation apps can record information of any interaction on their own, even if the Nest speaker or display doesn’t keep it.

Still, Guest Mode is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to bolster its reputation for privacy since many angered reactions to how Google Assistant and other voice assistants had collected and studied audio data. Google has started rolling out features like voice commands to check and delete Google Assistant recordings and keyword sensitivity checks to limit accidental awakenings. Google is also now asking users to register to allow human examinations of audio recorded by its software and is simply asking people to register. There are still problems. Last fall, Google admitted that some of its smart speakers this year registered people even without a wake word activation due to a software error. Despite these missteps, Google is clearly trying to take people’s privacy seriously when using the voice assistant.

“Whatever your reason, we know there are times when you might not want your own interactions with Google Assistant recorded – the choice is always yours,” said Pierre-Paul.

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