Google Chromecast with Google TV

Google Chromecast with Google TV

Google
Wi-Fi

Review date: Nov. 8, 2021

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Somewhat creepy

"Hey Google!" That will become your new favorite saying if you go the route of Chromecast with Google TV. This little dongle lets you stream what you're watching or listening to on your phone or tablet to your TV. And Google TV puts all the content from all your streaming services on the screen in one place. Just say, "Hey Google, show me rom coms," and all the rom coms from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more will appear on screen. Nifty.

What could happen if something goes wrong?

Google seems to do a better job than some of the other Big Tech companies when it comes to privacy (looking at you Facebook). That said, you should be aware they are a huge ad company that needs your data to sell ads. Google promises that your voice recordings won’t be used to send you personalized ads, but they admit transcripts of your voice interactions with your Google Assistant to control your Chromecast with Google TV may. So, when you say, “Hey Google, show me the football game,’ Google might assume you’re a sports fan and recommend you lots of other sports to watch, while also trying to sell you a jersey for the team you watch most. Google uses your personal information to show you ads all over the place like in your Gmail, in your favorite Solitaire app, on partner websites, and on YouTube. Yup, the ads are everywhere.

We do like that users are now automatically opted out of Google's human review of voice recordings, because that was super creepy. We also like that Google does try to communicate with users how they collect and use data in their Safety Center. Google does collect a lot of data on you, especially if you don't take the time to adjust your privacy settings to lock down just how much info they can gather. You should absolutely take the time to adjust these privacy settings. Just beware, you will get notifications that some things might not work right if you change settings. That’s annoying, and probably worth it for a little more privacy. If you don't take the time, it's possible Google can get to know you really well, maybe too well. Google knows that you like to watch sappy rom coms at certain times each month and starts treating you with ads for chocolate and wine and you fall into a rut of watching movies and eating chocolate and drinking wine and, you know what, that doesn't sound so bad. Maybe it's OK Google knows you so well. Maybe it's creepy?

Tips to protect yourself

mobile Privacy warning Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: No

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Tracks location

Device: No

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

While voice recordings won't be used for ad personalization, transcripts of your voice interactions may be. Non-personally identifiable information may be shared with partners. Google says that your personal data is never sold to third parties. Google says they keep video footage, audio recordings, and home environment sensor readings separate from advertising, and they won’t use this data for ad personalization Google uses your personal information “to serve you relevant ads in Google products, on partner websites, and in mobile apps.” According to the company, customers own their data and it does not sell this data to third parties. Google does state it gets paid by advertisers for placing ads to you based on your personal information. Google says to send data outside of the organization only with a user's consent.

How can you control your data?

Google provides various privacy controls, accessible via Google Privacy tools. There are several clearly defined ways to delete personal data, incl. deleting data from Nest app or deleting a whole Google Account. An autotimer can be set up for 3 or 18 month. The retention details are also listed in the Policy.

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

In August 2019, the company admitted that partners who work to analyze voice snippets from the Assistant leaked the voice snippets of some Dutch users. More than 1,000 private conversations were sent to a Belgian news outlet, some of the messages reportedly revealed sensitive information such as medical conditions and customer addresses.

In December 2018, a bug exposed the data of 52.5 million Google+ users

Can this product be used offline?

No

User-friendly privacy information?

Yes

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest.

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Google has a Security Rewards program, which means that anyone who finds a security issue and discloses it responsibly may get paid.

Privacy policy

Yes

Google has several privacy pages explaining its approach to privacy in simple language.

Does the product use AI? information

Yes

Google publishes academic papers about its AI research and makes several tools available via open source.

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Google uses natural language processing to understand you and to generate answers to your requests.

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Yes

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Can’t Determine


News

The Best Settings to Try on Your Chromecast With Google TV
Lifehacker
Roku, Amazon, and Apple might dominate the market for streaming devices, but don’t count Google out yet.
How to Turn Off Smart TV Snooping Features
Consumer Reports
Your TV may know—and share—a lot of information about you. That’s what CR has found repeatedly in recent years, including during a 2018 analysis of privacy and security in smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL (which uses the Roku TV smart TV platform), and Vizio.
Google came up with a new way to protect your privacy on smart TVs
BGR
While Google might not be ready to match Apple’s stricter privacy protection when it comes to mobile devices, the company does have an exciting new privacy feature that targets TVs.
Google is sending a complicated privacy email to everyone — here’s what it means
The Verge
Google is returning to having humans analyze and rate anonymized audio snippets from its users. However, it’s also taken the major step of automatically opting every single user out of the setting that allows Google to store their audio. That’s why you might be getting an email today: Google would like you to opt back in to the program, and it’s trying to provide clearer information detailing what it’s all about.
How to Use Google Privacy Settings
Consumer Reports
Google's privacy and security settings can take a little explanation to understand and use effectively. Here's a guide to the most important ones.
Is your Google Home or Nest secure? How to find and delete your private data
CNET
With Google Home or Nest in your house, you've got an always-on voice assistant that regularly records audio and almost always sends it to Google. Are you OK with that?
Hide personalized recommendations on Google TV
Google TV Help
If you want to hide personalized recommendations on Google TV, you can turn on Apps only mode. For example, when you have guests, you can use Apps only mode to hide your personalized recommendations.

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