Since Google I/O 2016, there has been a number of new Google-related announcements to digest. As well as a couple of new apps, Daydream and the Google Assistant, Google also introduced a new Google product for the home, the aptly named Google Home. This is a product which is clearly being seen as a competitor to Amazon’s Echo and one which will look to bring the Google Assistant technology to your home in a more uniformed manner by connecting all of the devices in your home.
Today, during a Code Conference talk, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, did touch on Google Home and why it hopes Google’s vision will be better than those from the likes of Amazon and largely thanks to the conversational nature of the underlying Google Assistant technology. Of course, any product, Google Home or otherwise, which looks to do what Google Home offers, will raise some concerns on privacy and during the same talk, Pichai looked to explain how Google hopes to alleviate any concerns of the ‘always listening’ nature of Google Home. In short, Google Home will have what is basically an incognito mode. This will allow users to make use of the Google Assistant by asking Home questions but also requesting that the search data is not recorded. An “off the record” mode. Likewise, it seems users will be able to activate this feature in hindsight as well and by simply asking Google Home to wipe the record of questions asked. Presumably, much like you would do with a ‘clear browsing’ data feature on your smartphone, tablet or Chromebook.
While this is unlikely to alleviate all the privacy concerns around a device like this, it does at least highlight that Google is taking into the consideration privacy issues and is looking to address them before the release of Google Home by including some ability to control the data accumulated by a product such as Google Home. Just as importantly, it seems as though Google is looking to ensure that the experience received will be one which is line with what you would expect with other Google products, with features like incognito and clear browsing data being included.