While the Google Assistant often gives us what we ask for, there is still room for improvement in terms of accuracy. Google previously allowed us to customize the sensitivity we want the keyword to have on our smart displays and speakers. But now they are using federated learning with a new “Help improve the Wizard” option to teach the system to avoid incorrect inactivations and errors. This allows you to save audio recordings on your device to teach the voice technologies used by the Google Assistant.
According to 9 to 5 Google, this new option is disabled by default, but when you go to the Google Assistant settings or your Google app general preference, you will see something called “Help improve the Assistant” that you can turn on. Basically, when you use the Google Assistant, the audio recording will remain on your device and a “privacy-preserving technology” will be able to combine information from you and other participants so that it can teach the Assistant to be better and help develop “better”. smart functions ”.
The main goal of this is to refine your keyword detection model, such as when you did not say “Hey Google” but it was still triggered or when you said “Hey Google” but it was not detected. But federated learning is processed locally, so your audio recording is not sent to the cloud. Your device will send a “summary of model changes to a Google server” and this can help improve the Google Assistant activation logic.
This option is disabled by default, so of course it is voluntary. And all your voice recordings are encrypted and won’t leave your phone while processing occurs when your device is idle, charging, and connected to Wi-Fi. All recordings will be automatically deleted after 63 days or when they are no longer needed. When you no longer want to join and deactivate the settings, your recordings will be deleted.
This is not the first time that Google has used federated learning to improve its services. They already use it in Gboard and the Health Studies app. Remember this is different from the Google Assistant data that is saved in the cloud with your Web and Activity settings, which you can delete separately or set to delete automatically.