October is the perfect storm of Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Google's big hardware event, so it makes sense that the company just announced a raft of new privacy tools across its services.
The big one for smart home users will be the changes to Google Assistant: you'll soon be able to ask the Assistant to delete your query history by saying things like, "Hey Google, delete the last thing I just said to you" or ‚ÄúHey Google, delete everything I said to you last week."
Those are the examples offered up by Google's Eric Miraglia in a blog post, but we've asked Google to clarify just how specific you can be here. What we do know is that anything more than a week, and the Assistant will direct you to your account settings to complete the deletion.
Google says the feature will roll out in English next week, with all other languages to follow in November. It will also go live automatically, so you won't have to make any changes in the app to use it.
The company is also launching a rolling auto-delete feature for YouTube history. You'll be able to tell the app to keep your data for 3 months, 18 months, or until you delete it, at which point all information will be wiped.
The moves follow a period of scrutiny for Google and other tech giants in this space, with regards to how they handle and process voice data. Google, Amazon and Apple all came under fire for using human reviewers to improve their AI, without being transparent about this process to users.
Google put its human review process on pause in response to criticisms, and recently announced it will reduce the amount of data it retains, promising to make the feature one more explicitly opt-in.
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