I've told you every way I, "Stop spying on me Google."

I am so tired of Google using software updates as an excuse to roll back privacy settings. I disabled Google Assistant as soon as I got my phone. I have no interest in inviting Google to be a quiet participant in literally every conversation I might have in my life, if Google so chooses. I had my first “inadvertent activation” of Google Assistant two or three weeks ago, so presumably the update was relatively new then. I tried several times to figure out how to disable it but the instructions never seemed to match my phone (or perhaps didn’t match the current version of Android, even though some of the instructions were purportedly only 2-3 weeks old).

Today, during what was certainly a private conversation, Google asked me some stupid fucking question about what I wanted based on information about me it never should have had. Google can miss my fucking ass. Not that Apple is perfect but they at least pretend to care about user privacy. Iphone it is. I welcome my new phone overlord. May the old one rot in hell.

I have an Android phone, and this is the first (that I can remember) that I’ve heard of Google Assistant, or Google “asking” someone something.

I had something similar happen recently, and it seemed to be connected to the SDMB. I no longer remember the details, but I posted about something or other, and then went to Google to do a search on something related. After typing one or two words, Google auto-completed the exact phrase I had posted about. It gave the eerie impression it had been watching over my shoulder!

Now, this may have been sheer coincidence, but it seems unlikely. My hunch is that it may have been related to the insidious spying of Google Analytics, which indeed Discourse does support. I have no idea if the SDMB uses it. There is an opt-out browser extension for disabling it that works for most browsers.

which is offered by Google. I might try it, but I don’t trust it.

I would think that Google has a vested interest in being perceived as an ethical and trusted organization, considering that they aim to be the curators of the world’s information. My betting would be that they hope not too many people find out about the opt-out, or don’t bother installing it, rather than Google crippling it in some way. But I have no idea. I’ve downloaded the extension but not yet installed it. I already dislike the fact that Discourse forced me to install the latest version of Firefox which is less reliable than the older one, and I hesitate to install even more crap on it.

Their slogan literally used to be “Don’t Be Evil”, but I think it was more of an aspiration than a philosophy.

(Their slogan changed to “Do The Right Thing” when they became Alphabet.)

Do you ever say “Hey Google” of “Okay Google” to get your phone to do stuff? That’s Google assistant. I turn it off because I don’t need technology listening to my every conversation in the hopes that I want something from it.

I forget what it asked, but it was something along the lines of “did you want this [title of book that I had been having a private conversation about]?”

They care about having a good enough reputation and enough clout that they won’t get sanctioned by the government or face adverse legislative action as a result of their shenanigans. The wealthier and the more powerful they become, the less they give a shit about what people think of their ethics.

FWIW, I created a system restore point and then installed the Google Analytics blocker in Firefox about half an hour ago. No issues so far.

I’ve not had any problems with Google Assistant reactivating itself. Buy, if I was, I would go to Apps and disable it there, rather than relying on the settings. I’ve never had an app I disabled reinstall itself.

Of course, I’m assuming you want it off completely, and not just the voice activation.

As for Google’s extensions: all extensions in Chrome are open source by design, so you (or someone with coding knowledge) can see what they do. It would be hard to sneak things in. I’ve never seen anything like that in Google’s extensions—though I do think requiring an extension to opt out is shitty.

You’re using an Android phone and you don’t want Google as a “quiet participant” in every conversation?

I am 99% through with my “stop using Google” project: I dumped gmail (icloud mail), google search (duckduckgo), google maps (tomtom for traffic), chrome (vivaldi).

As we are speaking there are is no google software (that I’m aware of!) running on my phone or laptop.

Except Garmin uses google maps for its “Connect” app and a couple of chromecasts are snooping on my home network :frowning:

And how is their business model any different from Google’s?

I loved the Pickles strip from 7/17: Spying devices?

I did disable it in the apps. Both the first time and now. I don’t know how it reactivated itself, but I am guessing it was during an automatic update. There are about eight steps to turn it off or on, so it didn’t happen inadvertently.

I already do some of those things, like using an alternate email provider and duckduckgo. I do use Google maps but I have it set to not save my location history and I usually turn location services off altogether. I still don’t want Google literally listening in on my conversations. Turning off location services used to take one button on the home screen pull down menu. Now, it’s a multi-step process that Google knows few people will regularly do.

Weird. I’ve never needed to disable this on my Android phones because they come with that disabled. Certainly never had an update change it.

I’m not knowledgeable about this kind of stuff, but do you use Google Assistant on anything else? If so, is it possible when your devices sync it’s changing your phone too?

I don’t use Google Assistant on anything. I am also shocked that it came disabled on your phone automatically.

Just checked my wife’s phone and it’s disabled on that too. Both are Galaxy 121As, I think.

Samsung has their own assistant, Bixby. They’re probably just pushing that.

Siri is on by default on Apple devices.

Well, they can’t be pushing it too much, I’ve never heard of it. Just checked and it doesn’t show in a search on my phone.

With the iPhone and Mac, you’re pretty much given the option to turn it on or off at set up. With the Watch, it defaults to however you set it up on your iPhone.

The set up encourages you to turn it on, of course, but you still get to choose.

Are you serious? None of those 4 other companies make the overwhelming bulk of their revenue from sucking up insanely detailed profiles of their users daily habits and actions to be sold to the highest bidder for ads.