Is Google spying you?
It’s not a surprise most Android users are not aware, how I wish every user come to know this.
Very little to no attention is given to agreeing on the terms and conditions of Google when opening Accounts. Smartphones and tablets have turned into spying devices, capturing voice, photos, and videos, sending them to Google sending all of this data to Google servers. But how does this whole freak happen In this guide we are going to outline how Google is secretly recording you through your phone, as well as how you can end all that drama by adjusting your settings.
For you to understand this better, let me first introduce you to My Activity Section found in Google. Access this section by typing, “history.Google.com/history” and head to Activity controls. You will be taken to a page with all your online footprint such as “YouTube searches, browsing history, voice recordings and all your recent visited places.”
Voice and Audio Activity
If you own an Android phone, the probability is very high that you once or you are using Google assistant (similar to Apple’s Siri) . Google claimed this function only records your voice when you say, OK Google.” But according to some investigations by The Sun, just saying, “OK” could result in your device recording your voice. Yes, this is absolutely true. Now just take a minute and figure out how many times you have uttered the word “OK” in the past 30days, it might not be surprising that you uttered that word countless times and you could you have been recorded unaware.
According to the investigation carried out by The Sun, the word “OK” could be enough instruction to your device to start recording your voice for about 20s after which your voice is sent to Google servers, where the voice files are then stored in the cloud. What this means anyone who knows your Gmail or Google Account login details can access all this data. This will mean that if your device is not well protected by passwords, all your private conversations could be messed up. After all, there are close people who can easily snick into your Google account and invade your privacy. It’s no doubt this could lend you in real danger. You can access your voice files by typing “history.google.com/history>>Activity Controls>>scroll down to voice and Audio Activity and you should notice all your recorded voice files if there was any recorded.
Web and App activity
This is a collection of your browsing history, both on google and different Apps on your phone. This is used by Google to send you loads of targeted Ads.if you browse about “women dresses”, you will start receiving tons of women dresses adverts on your android phone.
If you are using Google Chrome, you can avoid leaving your browsing history by using Incognito mode, this mode allows you to surf the internet without leaving any browsing history on Google chrome. To go incognito, launch chrome browser on your Android device, click on the three dots at the top right corner and start browsing. On your desktop or laptop you can alternatively press ctrl+shift+N.
Google business model is so simple, collect as much data as possible about its users and then use that data to sell targeted Ads. So another way in which Google does that by tracking all your movements, from your work workplace, restaurants and so on. By doing this, it knows you and your activities more than you are aware of.
Even if your Android phone doesn’t have a sim card and location services are turned off Google could still track you. Without any WiFi connection or mobile data. This tracking functionality cannot even be turned by factory resetting your Android phone. So in short, as long as you have an Android phone, Google has an eye on you.
However, google location services is a very useful tool in tracking a lost/stolen device. If your don’t mind being tracked by Google and you are more concerned about your phone, make sure you are signed in Gmail account and Google maps. This will help you in locating your device.
Another investigation into Google Apps and software also can show that Android device is capturing photos and videos of millions of users without them realizing. For instance, Google Plus and Play store have an option to record a video or capture a photo without your confirmation. Are you still unaware of this?
If you are holding your Android phone right now, go to settings; Application manager>>Google+ or Play services for instant services
Scroll down to the “take picture and video“, click that option and the below screen will pop up.
This should bring all the truth about your phone. This device is spying on us day in and day out. Who knows at what time the device will be capturing these photos or videos? Absolutely nobody knows.
Is it possible to switch these settings off?
Yes, to some extent it is possible. Click on Activity control, you will then notice a blue toggle.
Switch that button off to stop Google from tracking and recording all your data. However, this button can turn ON without your permission. So you will always need to check if the option is off and this is where the whole process becomes a daunting task.
Turn off OK Google on your mobile device
You can turn off OK Google in pretty simple steps. On your Android device;
- open Google App
- Go ahead, at the top right corner, find menu icon
- Click on settings
- Find the “Voice” option and tap on that.
- Now to switch off the OK google option toggle on voice detection.
Now you have restored your privacy but you will need to check the setting regularly On automatically, without your knowledge.