Google adds a privacy-oriented Guest Mode to its Home and Nest smart speakers and displays

Want to have an off-the-record chat with Google Assistant on your smart speaker? Now you can, thanks to Google’s just-launched Guest Mode.

Credit: Google

It’s easy to ask Google Assistant to forget the last thing you said to your Nest or Home smart speaker or display (“Hey Google, that wasn’t for you”), but now there’s a way to temporarily keep Google Assistant from remembering what you said in the first place.

Google’s newly launched Guest Mode acts like an incognito tab in Chrome. While Chrome’s incognito mode won’t remember your browsing history, Google Assistant’s Guest Mode lets you chat with the Assistant on your Google smart speaker without your interactions being recorded.

Just say “Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode” to activate the new privacy mode. When you do, you’ll hear a special tone on your Google smart speaker, while a banner will appear on a Google display.

With Guest Mode enabled (which shouldn’t be confused with the old Guest Mode, which allowed visitors to cast media to your Google devices without connecting to your Wi-Fi network), you can ask Google to play music, check the weather, or read headlines, without any of your requests being saved in your Assistant history.

Guest Mode could also come in handy if a visiting friend (yes, we’ll have friends over again—eventually) wants to use your Google smart speaker without getting results that are personalized for you.

When you’re done with Guest Mode, you can simply say “Hey Google, turn Guest Mode off,” or you can check if the speaker is still in Guest Mode by asking the Assistant. On a Google smart display, the Guest Mode icon will remain on the screen until you turn the mode off.

Of course, if you chat with Google Assistant on your smart speaker without turning Guest Mode on, you can always erase your interactions after the fact. Just say “Hey Google, delete my last conversation,” or “Hey Google, delete today’s (or this week’s) activity.” You can also set Google Assistant to delete your voice history automatically, on a regular basis.

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Ben Patterson

TechHive (US)
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