Tech Talk #106 – June 22, 2019
Delete your Google Home recordings
If you have a Google eavesdropping device, I mean a Google Home product in your house, you probably know that Google Home is recording everything you say after the device’s wake word, which is usually “OK, Google.”
Google’s default policy was to keep the collected recordings of you talking to your Google home for a long time. Like, forever. But why?
The current state of Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t very intelligent. So, Google uses your recordings to “train” their AI by letting real people listen to them and correct the AI’s behavior if necessary.
Google has figured out that this might not be a friendly thing to do and recently announced that the new default is NOT to keep your recordings. Well, for new users at least.
If you’ve had your Google Home product for a while, Google did provide a way to turn off the recordings and to delete what’s already stored.
To stop the recordings, go to Google’s My Activity website at https://myactivity.google.com. Login if asked to. On the left menu, click on Activity Controls, then scroll down to Voice & Audio Activity and toggle it off. You need to do this for all your Google accounts if you have more than one.
Now to delete the existing recordings in your account. Open Google’s My Activity website again, click on Manage Activity, then click on Delete activity by. There’s a lot you can do here, but to delete the recordings, click the drop-down menu next to All products and scroll down to Voice & Audio. To delete all recordings, pick All time from the Delete by date drop down.
Now, if only Amazon and Alexa would let us delete all our “Hey Alexa” recordings.
Clearing wrong autofill entries
If you’ve ever mistyped an address into your browser’s search box, think “amazpn” or “hitchingpsttheares,” your browser will, not very helpfully, offer you that wrong address every time you try to type the right address. Every single time.
This helpfulness is called autofill. You can remove the bad entries in your autofill by deleting your entire browser history. Boom, they’re gone. But now you’ll have to re-authenticate on the web sites you go to, which is a pain.
But, if you’re using Chrome or Firefox, there’s an easier way to get rid of those bad autofill entries:
Start typing one of your bad autofill addresses, when Chrome shows the wrong address in the address bar, hold down Shift and Function on a Mac—or hit Shift on Windows—and press the Delete key.
It’s pretty much the same on Firefox, start typing one your bad autofill addresses when Firefox shows the wrong address in the address bar, hit that Delete key for Windows or Shift + Delete for Mac.
If you’re not using Chrome or Firefox, your only choice is to delete your entire browser history. Here’s how:
For Edge, you’ll have to clear your browser history entirely. Go to the triple-dot menu, choose Settings > Privacy & security. Click on “Choose what to clear” under “Clear Browsing Data,” select “Browsing history,” to delete everything.
Just like Edge, Apple makes you clear your browser’s entire history to clean up your autofill. To delete your browser history, click on “Safari” in the upper-left corner of your screen and select “Clear History.” Pick how much history you want to eliminate—likely everything—and click on “Clear History.”
Come on, Microsoft and Apple: make it easier for us to clean up our mistyped website addresses.
There’s a trick to everything
“I used to find buying books from Amazon slow and inconvenient, until one day the receptionist suggested I use their website.” Peter Serafinowicz is an English actor, voice actor, comedian and writer.
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.