Having a microphone in your house listening to everything you say sounds like an Orwellian privacy nightmare, but smart devices such as Google Home have made it increasingly the norm. Now, to help address security concerns, Google has begun to roll out a new Google Assistant feature that will allow users to adjust voice detection sensitivity. 

Soon you’ll be able to tell your Google Home to stop perking up its virtual ears at everything that even remotely resembling the words “Hey, Google.”

The rollout was first spotted by Mishaal Rahman of XDA Developers, who accessed it by tampering with the Google Home app’s code. A Google spokesperson subsequently confirmed it to The Verge.

Mishaal Rahman@MishaalRahman

Finally, the Google Home app is about to add “Hey Google” sensitivity options for each Google Assistant device.https://www.xda-developers.com/google-assistant-hotword-sensitivity-privacy/ …

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788:21 PM – Apr 21, 2020

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Initially announced in September 2019, Google wrote in a blog post that the upcoming controls are intended to give users “more control to reduce unintentional activations, or if you’d prefer, make it easier for you to get help in especially noisy environments.”

From screenshots shared by Rahman, it appears only the primary account on each device will be able to change its sensitivity settings. Rahman noted the new feature will also be added to smart displays such as the Google Nest Hub.

Aside from privacy issues, the new feature should also make Google’s smart devices less annoying for users who find it piping up when it isn’t wanted. Hopefully Google Assistant will soon get the message that not every casual kitchen conversation involves them.



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