Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Google's Pixel Buds A-Series include features like high quality audio, adaptive sound that adjusts to your surroundings, sensors and mics that can pick your voice up in a crowd. They even work directly with Google Translate to give you real-time translation right in your ears of languages spoken around you. Push a button, say, "Hey Google, help me speak French," and then speak in your normal language. Then your phone will translate to French for you. Groovy, although we know how funky Google Translate can get so, you know, just be careful.
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 security and privacy. That said, you should be aware they are a huge ad company that needs your data to sell ads. So while they say audio recordings won't be used to target you with ads, transcripts of your voice interactions may. 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.
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.
What’s the worst that could happen? Well, we suppose Google could know that you like to listen to Taylor Swift on repeat and order lots of ice cream from the store. Based on that, Google decides you must be sad and starts showing you ads for homeopathic mood boosters. You try one, it doesn't work, but now you're on the mailing list of every weird vitamin company out there. That’s probably not going to happen, so, yeah, you’ll likely be ok. We hope!
Tips to protect yourself
- Consider using your headphones without connecting it to an app. This way, you may decrease amount of data collected
What can be used to sign up?
What data does the company collect?
Name, email, phone number
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
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?
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Encryption in transit and at rest.
Google has a Security Rewards program.
Is this AI untrustworthy?
What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?
Is the company transparent about how the AI works?
Does the user have control over the AI features?
Got a comment? Let us hear it.