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Google's Project Dragonfly was a secret prototype search engine intended to pave the way for the company's return to China; it featured censored search results that complied with Chinese state rules banning searches for topics like "human rights," "student protest" and "Nobel prize."

Leaked details of Dragonfly, reported in The Intercept, paint a picture of a search tool that doesn't merely limit access to information, but also assists Chinese state agents in retaliating against people who sought access to banned information.

In particular, Dragonfly logged each search and associated it with the user's phone number.

Dragonfly was also reportedly built to help the Chinese authorities falsify pollution data by substituting official numbers for observations made by disinterested parties. Pollution is a fraught political topic in China, with citizens frequently upset over the state's failure to keep their air breathable. The Chinese government has a history of falsifying pollution data and suppressing independent figures.

Sources familiar with the project said that prototypes of the search engine linked the search app on a user’s Android smartphone with their phone number. This means individual people’s searches could be easily tracked – and any user seeking out information banned by the government could potentially be at risk of interrogation or detention if security agencies were to obtain the search records from Google.

“This is very problematic from a privacy point of view, because it would allow far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behavior,” said Cynthia Wong, senior internet researcher with Human Rights Watch. “Linking searches to a phone number would make it much harder for people to avoid the kind of overreaching government surveillance that is pervasive in China.”

Source: This article was Published boingboing.net

Published in Search Engine

Access to the BWinnovate database is open to the worldwide web but is much more focused than a regular search engine.

LONDON, UK, SEPT 11, 2018 -- An innovation search engine that can help match utilities, industrial users and contractors with the water technologies they need has been launched by British Water. BWinnovate complements the trade association's popular onsite Innovation Exchanges with utilities and other client organizations and the supply chain.

The searchable portal is hosted on the trade association's website and seamlessly integrates with its member database. Members are invited to post as many innovative 'solutions' as they wish along with images, documents, and video links.

Access to the searchable database is open to the world wide web. A facility for member utilities and end-users to post their technology 'needs' in a section visible only to other members is also included.

Paul Mullord, UK director, British Water said, "BWinnovate is a natural extension of our popular Innovation Exchanges where supply chain companies present their services and technologies to potential clients. It allows our members to present to a global audience and facilitates detailed searches to help identify the most appropriate solutions available.

"BWinnovate is much more focused than a regular search engine and the benefit goes both ways. Those searching for innovations can find them all in one place and at their convenience."

British Water has worked closely with its members to identify the most effective search criteria for the solutions. Prescribed categories include whether the solutions enhance health and safety, productivity and sustainability or whether they are water, wastewater or environmental solutions.

Doug Workman, president of Modern Water Monitoring said, "The water industry needs innovation, but it is not always easy for busy project managers and consultancies to identify the most appropriate technologies. Modern Water will certainly be making use of BWinnovate and the more companies that get involved, the greater the benefit for customers."

Dr. Stephen Bird, managing director, South West Water said, "BWinnovate is a very useful search engine for utilities. It creates an easily accessible library of innovation across multiple companies. It sits in one place, can be accessed at any time and is continually updated. It could save businesses valuable time and contribute to major cost savings across all operations."

Mullord added, "The industry is under considerable pressure to cut costs while conserving water and reducing carbon footprint. BWinnovate can help stakeholders identify solutions that can truly benefit their customers. I believe it will prove particularly beneficial in the new retail market."

Source: This article was Published waterworld.com

Published in Search Engine

VirusTotal, which is a product of Chronicle, a company created within Alphabet’s fabled “moonshot factory,” has been described as “Google for malware.”

Earlier this year, Google parent Alphabet unveiled a new, top-level company called Chronicle that would be dedicated to cybersecurity.

Initially created within X, Alphabet’s so-called “moonshot factory” unit, Chronicle has said that it’s developing a security analytics platform for corporate customers, harnessing the company’s strengths in search, artificial intelligence, raw computing, and data storage power. But Chronicle also includes an often-overlooked security product called VirusTotal, sometimes described as “Google for malware.”

Acquired by Google in 2012, the Malaga, Spain, based company was first created by cybersecurity developer Bernardo Quintero in 2004, who’s worked on antivirus technology since he was a teenager. Quintero’s earlier projects included a Spanish-language cybersecurity newsletter and a tool designed to defeat dial-up-era malware that ran up charges calling premium toll hotlines. VirusTotal enables anyone to upload a file they suspect may contain malware to have it scanned by dozens of antivirus tools from vendors like Symantec, TrendMicro, Kaspersky, and Avast.

“When I started [VirusTotal] there were eight or nine antivirus companies working in the first version of the service,” says Quintero.

Now, there are more than 70, and the tool can extract other metadata from files as well, whether it’s a photo or an executable program, studying the uploaded content in secure virtual cloud machines. Security experts can also use the platform to share information about potential new malware files.

“They can have fast access to the malware samples to improve their product,” Quintero says.

VirusTotal played a role in the analysis of the infamous Stuxnet worm, when it collected some of the first samples, and it’s been cited in commercial and academic security research, including recent work on cryptocurrency-stealing malware.

Since Alphabet’s acquisition, VirusTotal has been largely independently managed, but it’s been able to take advantage of the larger company’s cloud computing and search capabilities—some of the same strengths that Alphabet intends to leverage for its larger Chronicle efforts.

“We’ve increased search capabilities,” says Chronicle CEO Stephen Gillett. “We’ve invested a large amount of infrastructure to make scanning faster and better.”

More fundamentally, Alphabet has also helped VirusTotal, which prior to Chronicle’s debut was administratively part of the company’s internal cybersecurity unit, combat denial of service attacks that had threatened it as an independent platform.

“For us, it was a way to perfect our mission,” says Quintero.

VirusTotal Graph [Image: courtesy of VirusTotal]
VirusTotal has also added a data visualization component, called VirusTotal Graph, that can help suss out the relationships between malware files and the URLs and IP addresses that distribute them. And this year, it unveiled a feature called VirusTotal Monitor, which lets legitimate software makers upload their applications and information about them so participating antivirus companies can avoid mistakenly flagging them as malware. The innocuous software samples are stored in a secure, private cloud, and antivirus vendors are only given access to the data if their software begins to mistakenly flag the files as viruses.

Another feature, called VirusTotal Intelligence, lets security researchers sift through the set of uploaded files to find ones matching certain criteria. A bank, for example, could spot malware trying to interact with its websites.

Gillett declined to comment too extensively on plans for Chronicle’s next project, though he emphasized it would also take advantage of Alphabet’s strengths to help customers sift through vast quantities of security data.

“We should be able to help teams search and retrieve useful information and run analysis in minutes, rather than the hours or days it currently takes,” he wrote in a January blog post. “Storage—in far greater amounts and for far lower cost than organizations currently can get it—should help them see patterns that emerge from multiple data sources and over years.”

Chronicle isn’t Alphabet’s only high-profile security project—the company’s Jigsaw unit focuses on tools to make the world safer, including combating misinformation and radicalization, and Google’s Project Zero team has focused on spotting bugs in software before they can do harm. More recently, Alphabet has announced plans to help safeguard elections, including by helping keep Google accounts safe from unauthorized access.

Contributing to cybersecurity in a world where it’s often lacking is an important mission for the company, Gillett says.

“For Alphabet, and for me personally as the founder and CEO of Chronicle, I believe there’s no better moonshot for Alphabet to be going after,” he says.

 Source: This article was Publishedfastcompany.com By Steven Melendez

Published in Internet Privacy

Google has launched Dataset Search, a search engine for finding datasets on the internet. This search engine will be a companion of sorts to Google Scholar, the company’s popular search engine for academic studies and reports. Google Dataset Search will allow users to search through datasets across thousands of repositories on the Web whether it be on a publisher’s site, a digital library, or an author’s personal web page.

Google’s Dataset Search scrapes government databases, public sources, digital libraries, and personal websites to track down the datasets. It also supports multiple languages and will add support for even more soon. The initial release of Dataset Search will cover the environmental and social sciences, government data, and datasets from news organizations like ProPublica. It may soon expand to include more sources.

Google has developed certain guidelines for dataset providers to describe their data in a way that Google can better understand the content of their pages. Anybody who publishes data structured using schema.org markup or similar equivalents described by the W3C, will be traversed by this search engine. Google also mentioned that Data Search will improve as long as data publishers are willing to provide good metadata. If publishers use the open standards to describe their data, more users will find the data that they are looking for.

Natasha Noy, a research scientist at Google AI who helped create Dataset Search, says that “the aim is to unify the tens of thousands of different repositories for datasets online. We want to make that data discoverable, but keep it where it is.”

Ed Kearns, Chief Data Officer at NOAA, is a strong supporter of this project and helped NOAA make many of their datasets searchable in this tool. “This type of search has long been the dream for many researchers in the open data and science communities,” he said.

Source: This article was Published hub.packtpub.com By Sugandha Lahoti

Published in Search Engine

If you think a search engine exists as an index to the internet, it’s time to update your thinking.

This column is not about politics. It makes no political judgments and takes no political positions. No, really! Stay with me here.

President Trump this week slammed Google, claiming that the company “rigged” Google News Search results to favor stories and news organizations critical of the president.

To drive home his claim about bias, Trump posted a video on Twitter this week with the hashtag #StopTheBias (which, at the time I wrote this, had 4.36 million views), claiming that Google promoted President Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses, but stopped the practice when Trump took office.

In a statement issued to the press, a Google spokesperson said that the company did not promote on its homepage either Obama’s or Trump’s first “State of the Union” addresses because technically they are considered mere “addresses to a joint session” of Congress, the idea being that brand-new presidents are not in a position to reveal the “state of the nation.” Google also claimed that it did promote Trump’s second and most recent State of the Union, a claim that screenshots found on social media and pages captured by the site Wayback Machine appear to confirm.

The facts around this incident are being funneled into ongoing, rancorous online political debates, which, in my opinion, isn’t particularly interesting.

What is interesting is the Big Question this conflict brings to the surface.

What is a search engine?

A search engine can be four things.

  • An index to the internet

When Google first launched its search engine in 1996, it was clear what a search engine was: an index of the internet.

Google’s killer innovation was its ability to rank pages in a way that was supposed to reflect the relative relevance or importance of each result.

Both the results and the ranking were supposed to be a reflection or a snapshot of the internet itself, not an index to the information out there in the real world.

  • An arbiter of what’s true

In this view, Google Search would favor information that’s objectively true and de-emphasize links to content that’s objectively untrue.

  • An objective source of information

The objective source idea is that Google makes an attempt to present all sides of contentious issues and all sources of information, without favoring any ideas or sources.

  • A customized, personalized source of information

The personalized source concept says that a search engine gives each user a different set of results based on what that user wants regardless of what’s true, what’s happening on the internet or any other factor.

This is all pretty abstract, so here’s a clarifying thought experiment.

When someone searches Google to find out the shape of the Earth, how should Google approach that query? It depends on what Google believes a search engine is.

(Note that it’s likely that flat-Earth proponents generate, link to and chatter about the idea that the Earth is flat more than people who believe it’s spherical. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that, objectively, the content and activity on the actual internet favors the flat-Earth idea.)

If a search engine is supposed to be an index to the internet, then search results for the shape of the Earth should favor the flat-Earth idea.

If a search engine is supposed to be an arbiter of what’s true, then search results should favor the spherical-Earth idea.

If a search engine is supposed to be an objective source of information, then search results should provide a balanced result that equally represents both flat- and spherical-Earth theories.

And if a search engine is supposed to be a customized, personalized source of information, then the results should favor either the flat-Earth idea or the spherical-Earth idea, depending on who is doing the searching.

I use the shape of the Earth as a proxy or stand-in for the real search results people are conducting.

For example, searches for your company, product, brand or even yourself are still subject to the same confusion over what a search engine is supposed to be.

When your customers, prospective business partners, employees or future prospective employees and others search for information about your organization, what results should they get? Should those results reflect what’s “true,” what’s false but popular, or what’s neutral between the two? Or should it depend on who’s doing the searching?

The truth is that Google tries to make Google Search all four of these things at the same time.

Adding to the complexity of the problem is the fact that search engine results are governed by algorithms, which are trade secrets that are constantly changing.

If you were to ask people, I suspect that most would say that Google Search should be Model No. 1 — an index to the internet — and not get involved in deciding what’s true, what’s false or what’s the answer the user wants to hear.

And yet the world increasingly demands that Google embrace Model No. 2 — to be an arbiter of what’s true.

Governments won’t tolerate an accurate index

Trump has claimed repeatedly that, in general, news media coverage is biased against him. If that’s true, and if Google News Search was a passive index of what the media is actually reporting, wouldn’t it be reasonable for Trump to expect anti-Trump coverage on Google News Search?

By slamming Google News Search as “rigged,” Trump appears to reveal an expectation that Google News should reflect what’s happening in the real world as he sees it, rather than what’s happening on news media websites.

Or it reveals that regardless of the weight of activity in favor of news sources Trump believes are biased against him, Google News Search should provide a balanced and neutral representation of all opinions and sources equally.

The rejection of the search-engine-as-internet-index model is common among governments and political leaders worldwide.

One famous example is the “right to be forgotten” idea, which has been put into practice as law in both the European Union and Argentina. The idea is that information on the internet can unfairly stigmatize a person, and citizens have the right for that information to be “forgotten,” which is to say made non-existent in search engine results.

Let’s say, for example, that a prominent person files for bankruptcy, and that 100 news sites and blogs on the internet record the fact. Twenty years later, well after the person has restored financial solvency, the old information is still available and findable via search engines, causing unfounded stigmatization.

A successful right-to-be-forgotten petition can remove reference to those pages from search results. The pages still exist, but the search engines don’t link to them when anyone searches for the person’s name.

The advocates of right-to-be-forgotten laws clearly believe that a search engine exists to reflect the real world as it is, or as it should be, and does not exist to reflect the internet as it is.

Google was recently caught in a controversy over an assumed return to the Chinese market with a custom China-only search engine that censors internet content in the same way that domestic sites are required to by the Chinese government. Hundreds of Google employees signed a letter in protest.

Google wants to “return” to the Chinese market. The Chinese government would not allow Google to operate a search engine accessible to Chinese citizens that accurately reflected what’s actually on the internet.

The examples go on and on.

What governments tend to have in common is that in political circles, it’s very difficult to find people advocating for the index-to-the-internet conception of what a search engine should be.

Why the search-engine-as-index idea is dead

Google’s self-stated mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Nebulous, yes. But for the purposes of this column, it’s telling that Google says that its mission is to organize, not the internet’s information, but the “world’s.”

The reality is that people search Google Search and other search engines because they want information about the world, not because they want information about what the internet collectively “thinks.”

And, in any event, the point is growing moot.

What the internet “thinks” is increasingly being gamed and manipulated by propagandists, bots, fake news, trolls, conspiracy theorists, and hackers.

Accurately reflecting all this manipulated information in search engines is valuable only to the manipulators.

Also: With each passing day, more information “searching” is happening via virtual assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and Alexa.

In other words, virtual assistants are becoming the new search engines.

With augmented reality glasses and other highly mobile sources of information, search engines such as Google will have to increasingly become arbiters of what’s true, or supposed to be true, because the public will increasingly demand a single answer for its questions.

That’s why the old initiatives for your company’s presence on the internet — SEO, marketing, social media strategy and all the rest — have new urgency.

With each passing day, search engines exist less to index the internet and more to decide for us all what’s “true” and what’s “not true.”

It’s time to redouble your efforts to make sure that what Google thinks is true about your company really is true.

Source: This article was Published computerworld.com By Mike Elgan

Published in Search Engine

So, Chrome is ten years old. Officially in the double-digits. Soon it’ll be getting wispy chin-hairs and its voice will be cracking. That said, Google’s browser has accomplished a lot in the ten years that it’s been around. It went from a latecomer in the Browser Wars, with just a 1-percent market share early on launch, and now it’s the most-used browser in the world, with around 60-percent market share. We thought we’d take a look back at the few of the ways it became so dominant.

The Omnibox.png

1. The Omnibox

Children, you will not believe it, but once in web browsers, there was a field for entering the web address and a very different field for the search! Can you believe that? What a bunch of dirty animals we were then. However, when Chrome launched in 2008, it really tried to emphasize a "clean, simple, and efficient interface," and one of the options was to combine the URL box and the search box into one. Suddenly, users could enter a web address or simply switch off the search terms in the same place. It has saved a lot of clicks from the start and has only been improved by additional auto-complete capabilities. It's even able to answer questions and solve math problems before pressing Enter. "The Omnibox handles more than just URLs," Google said in its comic announcement to the world. "It also offers suggestions for search queries, top pages you've visited before, pages you've not visited yet but are popular, and more … you'll have a full-text search of your history You will not have to bookmark this page for digital cameras, just enter "digital camera" and quickly come back to it. "Ten years later, and it's amazing how much I still rely on these features, It's worth noting that all of this information went back to Google by default, but you could use other search engines (Yahoo, Ask, etc.) if you wanted.

2. Incognito mode

Google did not invent the concept of private (or more private) surfing. Apple's Safari actually had a privacy mode before Chrome, but that just shows what a good name can do. Incognito mode has become one of the Q tips of … well, there's a reason why some people still refer to it as a "porn mode". However, it can be used for much more, including checking out websites and profiles through the eyes of an anonymous third party or getting around the paywalls of news organizations.

3rd speed

You may forget that the biggest initial benefit of Chrome was not just that it was fast, but also that stupid fast, Thanks to very intelligent programming, Google claimed that Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine could work ten times faster than Safari or Firefox, and approximately 56 times faster than Microsoft's IE7 (then the dominant browser). This kind of speed paved the way for better in-browser applications like email, calendars and spreadsheets, which of course Google would do

Speed.jpg

4. Each tab is a separate process

This is one of those situations that you take away. Chrome has taken the revolutionary approach of making every open tab its own process. This meant that if a website had a berth code that would simply crash one tab and the other 19 open tabs would stay quiet and function normally. As a result, fewer browsers were completely reset, and as long as your computer had sufficient RAM, each tab was much less prone to delays than other browsers at the time. The other side of this coin is that Chrome can make a metric shit sound out of your computer's memory, especially if you tend to have many tabs open at the same time as I am. In the last few years, much has been done in favor of Google to minimize the amount of background tabs that can impact your system and battery life, but there are still many rivers crossing at this front. Other browsers, such as For example, Opera now has this approach, "Every tab is a process," but most are based on the open source Chromium architecture.

5. Make the web less annoying

It's easy to say how much the web sucks today, but the truth is that it used to suck a lot worse. How do you remember videos that automatically hunted stupidities into your eardrum for 30 seconds before you even found out which tab they came from? Chrome has set it up to mute these videos by default for an entire domain. Or how about extremely annoying popup and banner ads? Maybe fake play buttons that have taken you to a sketchy website? Google gave the sites 30 days to settle for a set of web standards. If it did not, Chrome automatically blocked the offensive content. In this way, 60 percent market share can choose to use their influence to get people to change their evil ways.

os.jpg

6. It is the first browser to become an operating system

What is the claim to fame? This small web browser became the basis for a whole operating system. Firefox, IE, Safari, Opera … none of them can claim the same. It is not an insignificant operating system either. Chrome OS runs Chromebooks, which account for approximately 60 percent of all mobile devices shipped to K-12 schools in the United States (as of Q4 2017). This will be a first computer experience for many of these children at a very formative time in their lives. Whether this will pay off for Google, remains to be seen.

Source: This article was Published gizmodo.com By Brent Rose

Published in Search Engine

Well, Google does not know you personally, so there is no reason to hate you. If you are writing and still not getting that first ranking on the page of the search engine, it means something is not right from your side.  First of all, let’s just get some ideas straight. How do you think search engine ranking is effective a web page? Being in the few lines of code will not always determine whether the page is capable enough to be placed on the first page of the search engine. Search engines are always on the lookout for signals to rank any page. So, it is easier for you to tweak an article and give those signals to search engines for enjoying a huge round of traffic.

Starting with the primary point:

To get that huge round of audience, you need to start with keyword research. It is one such topic which every blogger might have covered at least once. They need to work on that from the very first day of their blogging life. Every SEO blog or blogger might have used Google Keyword Planner for sure. You might have heard of it, because if you haven’t then you are missing out on a lot of things for your massive business growth.

More on Google Keyword Planner:

There are so many types of keyword research tools available in the market but Google Keyword Planner is at the top of the list. It is also one of the major keyword spy tool names you will come across recently. Google Keyword Planner is an official item from Google, offering you a traffic estimation of targeted keywords. It further helps users to find some of the related and relevant KWs for matching your niche. There are some important points you need to know about Google Keyword Planner before you can actually start using it.

  • For using this Google Keyword Planner tool, you need to register your name with Google and have an AdWords account. The tool is free of cost and you don’t have to spend a single penny on using this item. You have every right to create an AdWords tool using some simple steps and get to use it immediately.
  • If you want, you can clearly search for the current Google AdWords coupons, which will help you to create one free account for your own use. It will help you to use the Google Keyword Planner tool on an immediate count for sure.
  • The main target of this tool is towards AdWords advertisers. On the other hand, it is able to provide some amazing deals of information when it is time to find the right keyword for the blog and the relevant articles to your business.

Log online and get a clear idea on how the homepage of this tool from Google looks like. You just have to enter the target keyword in the given search bar and start your search results quite immediately.  Later, you can add filters if you want to.

Source: This article was Published irishtechnews.ie By Sujain Thomas

Published in Online Research

Remember the early days of "not provided"? Well, Google Search Console has begun removing some query data for "privacy" reasons.

Google has quietly posted that they are now removing query data from the Google Search Console reports that they identify as “anonymous queries.” Google said, “an anonymous query is a query submitted only a few users.” Google added that they “omit these queries from results to protect user privacy.”

Google said the amount of queries removed depend on the site, Google said: “some sites will have very few unique queries; other sites will have a large proportion of anonymous queries.”

Google wrote on the page:

Chart totals no longer include anonymous* (rare) queries when you apply a query filter. Previously, the chart totals included all anonymous queries when a “Queries not containing:” filter was applied. Because of this, you might see a drop in clicks and impressions when adding a filter that excludes specific queries. We believe that omitting anonymous queries from all query-filtered results is more consistent.

Back in 2011, Google removed query data from their reports when they began moving Google search results to HTTPS. When Google made this move, it was about protecting user’s privacy to disallow people from sniffing Google’s searches. But Google told webmasters that they will be able to get all this data securely in Google Search Console. Now, with this change, Google is now also removing some query data from Google Search Console as well.

Source: This article was Published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz

Published in Search Engine

Google announced that they will now begin automatically verifying some users in Google Search Console, which will open up access to Google Search Console to countless (I don't even know the figure, hundreds of thousands, millions?) of webmasters, site owners and more. In short, if you are a verified owner of a Google Analytics property, Google will automatically verify you for that same website in the Search Console.

This is very big news, probably not for most of you, since you all are on top of making sure the right people have access to Google Search Console. But this is very big news, in general, to get more people to access to Google Search Console. As I said at Search Engine Land "those with Google Search Console access will get emails and notifications of issues in their inboxes. These messages can include manual actions, hacks, WordPress and other CMS upgrade alerts, as well as other notifications - all aimed at helping you keep your website healthy, indexed and ranking." Yea, I quoted myself - sue me. But it is important, this opens up super important notifications and reports to many people who had no idea this tool existed.

Everyone knows about Google Analytics, it is a given. But Google Search Console - not so much. I know many SEOs who have been telling Google to auto-verify people this way and Google has finally done it. You no longer need to manually go and verify your site in Search Console, Google will do it automatically if you are the site owner in Google Analytics!

This is what it looks like when you get notified of being automatically verified. Sergei Ivanov posted on Twitter some screenshots.

This is the notification telling the site owner they are now verified because of the collaboration with Google Analytics:

Here is the notification in Google Search Console of this:

 

 Source: This article was Published seroundtable.com By Barry Schwartz

Published in Search Engine

Google voice search makes finding what you need even easier.

Just say “OK Google,” tell your phone or tablet what you want to find, and you’ll get results. Or use the microphone icon in your browser.

There’s even an official Chrome extension that combines voice search with Google Docs dictation, so you can type a document without touching a keyboard.

It’s really cool technology, but like most convenient tech, there are some tradeoffs.

In this case, the biggest trade-off is privacy. Voice search comes with some “features” that you might not be aware of, and privacy enthusiasts find those features a bit worrying. (Fortunately, you can mitigate them with a few clicks if you know where to look; we’ll get to that in a moment.)

First, let’s talk about how Google voice search is changing human-computer interaction.

Google Voice Search: The future of search

For years, Google has been making it easier to find the information you want on the internet. Extremely refined algorithms, sophisticated tracking and scoring, and integration with a variety of other services all remove barriers to getting great search results.

Voice search is an extension of that. If you can’t – or just don’t want to – type your query, all you need to do is speak it and Google will take a look. You can use it to search other search engines (like DuckDuckGo, which is much more privacy-focused), Wikipedia, YouTube, Wolfram Alpha, and a wide variety of other sites.

Google Assistant, a more powerful companion to simple voice search, will help you find photos, send text messages, keep your shopping list, and even order products.

It’s clear that Google is betting heavily on voice technology, and that it’s working. A 2018 survey by Stone Temple found that 16% of people prefer to use voice search over any other method.

And 60% used voice search at least some of the time. Users also took advantage of voice tech for sending texts, making calls, getting directions, and setting reminders.

Google stores every voice command that you’ve ever given your device

Why do so many prefer voice-enabled apps? Mostly because it saves time. Over 60% said that they use voice because it’s fast. But the fact that it’s accurate, doesn’t require typing, and results in an audio answer were mentioned, too.

The past few years have seen increased usage of voice search and other voice-enabled technologies, and it’s unlikely to slow down any time soon. Google is leading the way in making it easier for users to interact with their devices using their voice.

But this convenience has a cost that many people aren’t aware of: privacy.

Why privacy advocates are wary of Google Voice Search

Most people using Google’s voice products without much thought. They say “OK Google,” or hold down the home button on their device, and start talking. When they’re done with the search, they forget about it.

But Google doesn’t.

It stores every voice command that you’ve ever given your device, plus a few seconds of audio before you gave the command. Which means that Google is always listening through your phone. They might not be saving everything you say near the device, but they’re always listening.

And much of it is saved. In fact, you can see how much. Head to myactivity.google.com and you’ll see the data that Google has stored. If you’ve used voice search recently, you should be able to find a record of it and even listen to the stored audio.

It’s a little unnerving, hearing the things you said to your phone played back to you from your computer

It’s a little unnerving, hearing the things you said to your phone played back to you from your computer, and knowing that it’s coming from Google’s servers.

And, of course, we all know what Google does with your information that’s stored on its servers: analyzes it and uses it to serve you ads. That, combined with the fact that your phone is always listening and ready to record audio, has privacy enthusiasts worried.

What you can do to protect your privacy from Google Voice Search

The most obvious thing you can do to mitigate the privacy concerns of using Google voice search is to simply not use it. If you turn Google Assistant off, it won’t be listening, and it won’t be recording anything.

To turn it off, open Google Assistant, then tap the blue icon in the upper-right corner. Hit the three dots in the upper-right corner of the resulting screen and select Settings. Tap the name of your device, and move the slider for Google Assistant to the off position.

Of course, that means you won’t be able to use the full power voice search. And that’s inconvenient. But if you’re concerned about privacy, it might be worth it.

Especially because Google’s voice search capabilities may not work very well when you’re using a VPN. And using a high-quality, secure VPN is one of the most important things you can do to keep your mobile data safe.

If you want to keep using voice search, you can tell Google to stop recording and storing what you say. You can do this by going to myactivity.google.com, selecting Activity Controls from the sidebar menu, and scrolling down to Voice & Audio Activity. Click the slider to pause it.

This will prevent the storage of your voice searches and activity. That means Google won’t be using it to target ads . . . but it also means that it won’t be as good at recognizing your voice, have as much data for learning speech recognition, or learn things that might help it solve your problems.

But it’s a step in the right direction for privacy.

Weigh the options

Unfortunately, keeping your data secure means not getting as many benefits from Google’s voice-recognition technologies as you might otherwise. So you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of privacy versus the convenience of Google voice search and similar services.

In an age when privacy is increasingly threatened, it’s easy to assume that all of your data will end up in Google’s hands anyway. But if you put up a bit of a fight, you just might be able to maintain a bit of control over your data.

 Source: This article was Published ifsecglobal.com By John Mason

Published in How to
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