Thursday, January 21, 2021

Google’s new Assistant feature is an incognito mode for smart speakers

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Last january Google quietly removed the existing guest mode feature, which allows people not connected to your Wi-Fi network to connect to a Chromecast or smart speaker by entering a four-digit PIN code, from its Home and Nest devices, as some people and pets could hear the ultrasonic frequencies that the two devices use as a pair. Today, at the culmination of online privacy efforts, the company first announced in October, users will be able to turn off voice recording features on their smart display and speaker like Nest Audio or Nest Hub Max just by telling them.

This new Guest Mode looks essentially like Chrome’s private browsing tabs. When enabled, it prevents your interactions with the Google Assistant from being saved to your account. This can be helpful even when you don’t feel verbally awkward with your assistant. On the one hand, it prevents your friends and family’s interactions with your smart devices from influencing the personalized Assistant experience you have gradually curated.

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