Google Home is tremendously convenient, giving you the power to find out what’s going on with your day, hear the latest news reports, or catch some music simply by issuing some simple voice commands.
But this being Google, all of the data from your questions hangs around your account for analysis and processing. The premise, as with most of Google’s services, is that the company uses that information to deliver better services. While it may sound a little disconcerting, this means every recorded instance of when you talk to the Google Assistant takes up residence on a Google server somewhere.
Fortunately, you’re not locked out of being able to gain access to or even delete all of your saved voice commands. At any point, you can go back and listen to them, view what voice interactions you had, and then delete them if you so desire. The controls are there, so it’s just a matter of knowing where to go in order to start going through all of the data.
Why Should You Delete Past Commands?
It may be a little disconcerting to think about all the things you’ve asked Google Home that are now sitting as part of your search history. Perhaps you just want to take a peek at everything that’s a part of your history out of curiosity. Or maybe there are some things you’d rather not feed into Google’s algorithm. Whatever your reason, it only takes a few simple steps to eliminate the questions or commands that you’ve given to Google Home.
Find Your Activity
The place to tweak your search history is Google’s My Activity page. It’s available on the web, and is mobile friendly so you can access all of this information from a mobile device as well.
To see only your Google Home activity, click or touch Assistant from the list of available services. This will then pull up all of the interactions you have ever had with the Google Assistant.
Keep in mind that this page will also include any use of the Google Assistant from an Android smartphone, such as Google’s own Pixel.
There currently isn’t a way to limit your Assistant interactions to just Google Home, so you need to pay attention to the details of each interaction.
Next, you can select one of your interactions. They will often be bundled together if they occurred in a short time span. Click the arrow next to the grouping to see the individual items. Push Play to hear what was recorded when you spoke to your Google Home. If you don’t want this to hang around, then press the overflow menu (three vertical buttons) and select Delete.
You can peruse your timeline to listen to or view other times you performed an action with the Google Assistant. After listening, you may choose to let helpful recordings stay, or to delete ones you don’t want hanging around.
Perhaps you want to just wash your entire history away. Maybe you asked some questions that you’d prefer weren’t hanging around in your Google account, or you just want to stop seeing certain topics appearing in your Google feed.
This also may be a helpful feature after a friend or family member asked Google a bunch of questions that have completely altered your algorithm.
This command is also located in Google’s My Activity site. Once you have filtered by products and service (as above), select the overflow menu and choose Delete results. This will wipe away all of the questions you have ever asked and any other interactions with the Google Assistant.
Keep in mind that doing so will impact how other Google services might perform. But for many users, losing some of this convenience is a small price to pay for improving their online privacy.
Why Keep Your Past Commands Around?
Of course, part of the thinking behind a device like Google Home is that the search giant will be able to deliver you a better experience across various products by using this information. For example, if you frequently ask Google Home questions like, “When is the next Golden State Warriors game,” you’re going to start seeing Warriors’ scores in your Google app.
If you have a Google Home, there are good reasons to go all-in with Google and keep asking, and storing, all of your questions.
Google’s goal is to build a “personal Google” just for you. Even though that sounds a little discomforting, you can’t get to AI paradise without providing some information. In return, your searches and questions receive more personalized answers over time.
You Have the Power
As ominous as it may seem, we are entering a bold, new world where your information can deliver some pretty eye-opening experiences. But it’s wise to understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Thankfully, Google Home includes a system that allows you to dig in and take action if there are bits of data that you don’t want hanging around. A moderate approach is likely your best bet: keep truly identifying or embarrassing information private, while leaving everyday requests intact.
Do you actively monitor and delete past interactions from your Google Home account? Let us know what works best for you in the comments.