Google Pixel Buds
Review date: 11/02/2020
Google's Pixel Buds come in colors named "Oh So Orange," "Quite Mint" and "Clearly White" and look festive and fun, especially if you're Austin Powers. Features include high quality audio, adaptive sound that adjusts to your surroundings, sensors and mics that can pick your voice up in a crowd, and real-time translation right in your ears of languages spoken around you. Connect them to your phone via Bluetooth and ask Google anything you want -- text Dad, call Mom, what colors clash with mint? Groovy.
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. We like that users are now automatically opted out of Google's human review of voice recordings. However, Google does collect a ton of data on you, especially if you don't take the time to adjust your privacy setting to lock down just how much info they can gather. We recognize it is time consuming to have to go in and adjust setting in apps and on your phone and on your computer to protect your 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 put Taylor Swift on repeat and order cartons 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. Maybe it's OK Google knows you so well. Maybe it's creepy.
Can it snoop on me?
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
What data does it collect?
Name, email, phone number
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?
In 2018, personal information was exposed in several incidents, resulting from access by app developers, exposure by mobile apps, or a bug in Google + API. Google has also stored location data without permission.
Can this product be used offline?
User friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Uses encryption in transit and at rest.
Google has a Security Rewards program, which means that anyone who finds a security issue and discloses it responsibly may get paid. https://www.google.com/about/appsecurity/programs-home/
Google has several privacy pages explaining its approach to privacy in simple language.
Does the product use AI?
Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?
Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?
Google publishes academic papers about its AI research (https://ai.google/) and makes several tools available via open source. https://ai.google/tools/