Make Google Assistant instantly less annoying by disabling these 5 settings

This story is part of Home tipsCNET’s collection of practical tips for making the most of your home, inside and out.

Google Assistant, the voice assistant that powers Nest’s smart speakers and displays, can come in really handy. You can take care of all your daily practical needs or Control your automated smart home with some simple voice commands. But there are privacy issues to be aware of with any smart device, including Google’s, not to mention daily harassment that make the experience impractical or frustrating. Fortunately, a lot of Google Assistant’s worst features are things you can turn off with a simple toggle.

Whether you’re concerned about privacy or just want to upgrade from Basic default settingsHere are five things we recommend turning off to achieve a more enjoyable Google Assistant experience.

1. Update the voice recording settings

Google announced Changes to voice recording privacy settings In 2020. Unless you opt-in, Google will not save or share your audio recordings with its human analyzers to improve Google’s algorithms. However, if you previously subscribed to or saved audio recordings, you can opt out, choose how long Google keeps them, or manually delete them.

There are two ways to turn off Voice Activity. On your computer, go to and click Settings bars at the top left. Click activity controls. Next, uncheck the box that says Include audio recordings To prevent Google from associating your audio recordings with your account. You can also open a file Google Home mobile app. Select your Profile icon > my activity > saving activity. switch Include audio recordings turn on or off.

To adjust more privacy settings, open the Home app, tap your profile picture in the top right, followed by plugin settings. There, you will land on You are tab. Choose Your data in the assistant and scroll down to audio recordings. Click to see options for saving, reviewing, and deleting recordings.

To delete your voice command history, go to> data and personalization > Web and App Activity > Activity management And tap the three dots menu stacked at the top of the screen. Then select delete activity b And choose from the options – all time, last hour, last day, etc delete For confirmation. You can also tell Google to delete your voice command history. Just say, “Hey Google, delete everything you just said.”

2. Turn off the persistent chat feature

Ongoing conversation helps Google listen to follow-up questions Without having to say “Hey Google” again. While this is helpful, the extra listening can sometimes be less than smooth, especially when you don’t have a follow-up question or when you’re asking a question to someone else in the room. Fortunately, you can turn this feature off.

To turn off Persistent Chat in the Home app, tap your profile picture in the upper right, followed by Assistant Settings > Persistent Chat. You will be able to turn off Persistent Chat and see which speakers it affects.

3. Adjust the “Hey, Google” sensitivity

If you feel like you’re always accidentally waking up your smart speakers, the “Hey, Google” sensitivity might be too high. You can adjust how well Google Assistant responds to its wake-word if it doesn’t hear you well enough or if it gets other words wrong in its wake-word.

To adjust the sensitivity, go to the Google Home app. At the bottom, click residence. Next, select the smart speaker or smart display that you want to set. Once you have selected the device, tap Device settings at the top right. Then select sound> “Hey Google” sensitivity. There you’ll be able to adjust how sensitive you want Google Assistant to be when it responds to you from “least sensitive” to “most sensitive”.

google nest hub max sitting on the counter

You’ll see a steady green light next to the camera when the Nest Hub Max is uploading photos or video to Google’s servers.

Juan Garzon/CNET

4. Change camera settings

If you are using a Google enabled smart display such as Nest Hub MaxAnd Lenovo Smart Display or View JBL Link, you may want to keep the camera disabled when you are not making video calls. Each monitor does this a little differently. While JBL and Lenovo offer physical shutter options, you won’t get a built-in shutter with Google’s smart display, the Nest Hub Max.

The easiest way to turn off the Nest Hub Max’s camera and microphone is to flip the switch on the back of the device. The indicator light next to the viewfinder shows the current status. You’ll need to remember to turn it on and off each time you use the camera feature, but it’s important to have an option to make sure the camera is turned off when needed.

If you want to turn off the camera, but still want to use voice commands, there is a toggle to turn it off Just Camera. Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen on the Nest Hub Max, then tap the toggle camera button along the toolbar.

For added security, you can physically cover the camera on your Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max with a webcam cover available on Amazon or many other retailers.

5. Reset your activity controls

such as audio recordings, Google saves information on the websites and apps you use with your Google Account. If you’re concerned about privacy, adjusting these settings provides some peace of mind.

In the Home app, tap your profile picture in the top right, followed by plugin settings. Click on Three points at the top right of the screen and select Google Activity Controls. There, you will see a page with options to control the information Google collects data from your online and mobile app activity. You can also turn on auto-deletion and choose how often your data is removed.

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