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Google confesses to listening to customers’ conversations

Google has admitted to giving its staff access to some audio recordings from its Google Home smart speakers.

The technology giant said it uses language experts to study a small number of audio “snippets” from users.

According to Google, the study helps it develop voice recognition and other technology in its Google Assistant artificial intelligence system, which is used in its Google Home smart speakers and Android smartphones

“As part of our work to develop speech technology for more languages, we partner with language experts around the world who understand the nuances and accents of a specific language.

“These language experts review and transcribe a small set of queries to help us better understand those languages. This is a critical part of the process of building speech technology, and is necessary to creating products like the Google Assistant. David Monsees Product Manager, Google Search

Google adds that the audio samples these contractors listen to amount to about 0.2% of all recordings, and that user account details aren’t associated with any of them.