Of Google and cocker spaniels

By | August 10, 2020

A few days ago, Tim and I welcomed the newest member to our household – a 9-week-old cocker spaniel puppy by the name of Doodle.

Now anyone who’s ever had a spaniel puppy will be able to tell you that they’re a pretty even mix of newborn baby, cute toddler and stroppy awkward teenager.  He’s certainly keeping us on our toes, anyway!  So I hope you won’t mind me keeping this week’s email short and sweet.

I’ve got just a bit of news and a quick tip for anyone with an Android phone or tablet….  

The Google Voice Assistant might be recording what you say

You might have had an email in the last few days telling you that whenever you ask your device something using “OK Google”, you can save a recording of what you say in your Google account.  Then these recordings can be used to improve the accuracy of the Google Assistant.

I thought the wording of the email was a bit off-putting – it made this sound like a big deal – but I don’t think it actually is.  Previously, they’ve asked when you first set up the assistant whether or not you want to send voice data to Google to improve the service. I’d actually already said yes to this.

I guess someone privacy campaigner has kicked up a fuss – hence Google sending out the email to everyone explaining exactly what they may or may not have agreed to, and how to delete all your voice recordings if you want to.  What they’ve also done though, is turn the feature off for everyone – even if you’d already said yes.

So if you don’t mind Google doing this to help improve the assistant’s voice recognition, you need to tap on the “Review Setting” button in the email Google sent you to turn the feature back on again.

A quick tip about notifications

I was doing this the other day and it occurred to me that not everyone would know about it.  I had two emails come in to my Outlook email app.  One of them I wasn’t particularly bothered about, but I wanted to leave the notification about the other one on my phone to remind me to do something about it later.

If you just swipe down from the top of the screen to see your notifications, all the messages from the same app (in this case, Outlook) will be grouped together in one “Notification”.  If you swipe it to the side, you clear all the notifications from that app at the same time.

But you can separate them out – so you clear the reminder about one email but not the other.  All you have to do is swipe down on the notification that shows both messages and you’ll get two separate ones instead.  Voila!

Right, I’m going to get back to the pooch – I hope you all have a good week.

All the best

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