Google Pixel Buds

Google Pixel Buds

Google
Bluetooth

Review date: Nov. 2, 2020

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Super creepy
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.
mobile Privacy warning Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: No

App: No

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: No

Tracks location

Device: No

App: No

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.

How can you control your data?

You can review and delete your data via the Google Privacy Dashboard.

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

Needs Improvement

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?

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. https://www.google.com/about/appsecurity/programs-home/

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 (https://ai.google/) and makes several tools available via open source. https://ai.google/tools/

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

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

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Yes

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Can’t Determine


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