5 tips for Google Home privacy in a functional smart home

Do you want a smart home via Google Home, but do you want Google to know as little about you as possible? In this article, we give five essential tips for your privacy.

Control your Google Home privacy

Do you make your home smart and do you use Google products? Then there is a good chance that you will end up with Google Home as the connecting factor between all your devices. Google Home works well and offers a lot of options, but there is also a big stumbling point for many: Google that knows everything about you.

If you place smart speakers and smart cameras or doorbells from Google, you can place ears and eyes everywhere in and around your house. These are all points with which the search giant can theoretically listen and watch. Now there is no immediate reason to worry about that, but does it feel right? Then here are some tips to make sure Google knows the least about you, while still keeping a functional smart home.

1. Turn off the microphones

Google’s smart Nest speakers have a physical slide that switches off the microphone. If you do this, the lights on the speaker will turn orange, so that it is always immediately clear that the microphone is switched off. Of course you cannot do voice commands with a switched off microphone, but you can play music.

If you want to be able to continue to use voice commands, you can do so via your smartphone. Then Google only listens if you want it. Or you switch on the microphone of one of your speakers. For example, the speaker in the living room.

The microphones of your Nest cameras can also be switched off. For that you have to dive into the menu of the app, because there is no physical button.

2. Don’t keep track of your activity

In the Google Home app, go to ‘Settings of the Home app’ and choose ‘Search and watch history’ under the heading ‘Privacy and legal’. In the new menu you will be given the option to indicate what should be done with your activity. In the information about your activity, you can uncheck the box ‘including audio recordings’. By default, an audio recording of each voice command is stored at Google.

Google uses this audio to improve voice recognition. It is possible that a Google employee listens to the fragments to interpret the audio. There may also be unconscious recordings, where the speaker thinks he has heard ‘Ok, Google’. If you do not want to cooperate, you can uncheck the box without any problems. The Google Assistant will still work in the same way.

3. Delete your activity

If you do have activities recorded as described in the previous heading, you can choose to have this data automatically deleted. This can be done in the same menu at the ‘automatic removal’ section.

You can also manually delete your activity. You do this by searching for the activity at the bottom in the same ‘Activity for Google Home’ menu as described above. You filter there by date and can then remove the selection.

4. Turn off partner connections

In the Google Home app, you can go to ‘Settings of the Home app’. There you will see the option ‘Partner connections’. Here you indicate which data you want to share with partners of Google Nest. Turn this off if you don’t want to share anything.

google home privacy

5. Only turn on cameras when you are away

You put down a smart camera, after which you don’t think about it anymore. Meanwhile, the camera watches with you all day, when you actually bought the device to keep an eye on your house when you’re not there. Then choose to only switch on the camera when you are not at home. You can do this by pulling the plug when you are not there or by putting something in front of your camera. But it can also be more convenient.

There is a Home / Away Assistance via the Nest app on your Nest camera. By looking at the location of your phone, the camera knows whether you are at home. For example, you can choose to have the Nest camera turn off automatically when you are at home.

More about living

In addition to your privacy, do you also want to protect the interior of your home when creating a smart home? Android Planet gives you tips on how to make an invisible smart home. Do you want to work with smart lights? Then check out our Philips Hue guide. Also read all our articles in the theme living.

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