Google Home records even when you haven't asked them to. Of course they do, we've reported this in the past. However, Google now calls it 'Aware' and, of course, it's not spying! It's a feature! Hurray!!!
So what is Aware? Google claims that it is a feature which is aware of everything in your house, without using "hey Google" or "ok Google". Now doesn't that make you happy? They looking after you!
So what do we know about Aware?
"Pretty rad google"
Hurray (again), google warns you, that's great but don't you also think it's a little strange? I mean your fire alarm wasn't singing "hey Google, ok Google, let's party", it sounded an alarm and Google picked up on it! Sure! It's AWARE and even I need to admit that it is pretty rad! But also kinda invasive?!?
The crazy thing is that people actually think it is cool that Google is aware:
"Mine heard possible glass breakings when I dropped some dishes I was washing. I don't have a nest aware subscription so I'm curious if this is something to encourage me to buy and how long it'll last."
"Mine did too while watching TV. Link to notification that appeared on my Pixel:"
...others made jokes about the situation:
"This is our last condom."
Google Home: "I've added condoms to your shopping list. Now go giv it to her."
Of course Google responded after the first people thought this seemed odd?!
So the bigger question is where is this going? What if Google becomes "aware" or "accidently" makes software updates and becomes 'aware' of all its users? And with Aware we don't mean the broken glass but the 24/7 surveilance they already have on chrome, or most of the internet as many, many websites use Google services such as their ANALytics!
The answers to the bigger question then becomes is it better to have Google in your house and be "aware" for confidence, or is it better to use curtains when you sleep and close the bathroom door when you shower? Because for me "aware" or "accdidently" software updates are nothing more as a reminder we are in the year 2020 which is looking decidely more advanced than the 1984 that Orwell predicted.
Gadgets can be your friends, and I use some, but it is always a question of from what company did they come and how they are set up? For me a smart home is a great idea, but I don't want Alexa, Google, Siri and Nest Aware anywhere near my home.
I will start researching and post some solutions about how to set up your house smartly, with open-source software and which mean we can live more smartly, confident in the privacy of our own homes without the intrusion of the Alexas and Siris of the world!
Be AWARE, you can have privacy and not need to ask yourself if you like living in an Orwellian world but instead just enjoy private conversation with your loved ones.