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Tech & Science Google uses humans to review Google Assistant queries

19:36  11 july  2019
19:36  11 july  2019 Source:   cnet.com

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A report from a Belgian network, VRT, has uncovered how Google is using human subcontractors to help transcribe and improve its Assistant speech-recognition systems around the globe and how this could be a privacy concern (via BoingBoing).

Google Assistant is the most accurate voice assistant on the market, beating out Samsung’s Bixby, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. “These language experts review and transcribe a small set of queries to help us better understand those languages,” David Monsees, product manager for Google

Google uses humans to review Google Assistant queries© CNET

Google Assistant is accurate and there's a reason why.

Google Assistant is the most accurate voice assistant on the market, beating out Samsung's Bixby, Amazon's Alexa and Apple'sSiri . A new report says the company has humans listening to recorded search queries to help improve the accuracy of its assistant.

A contractor provided Belgium-based VRT NWS with more than a thousand recordings of people using Google Home and the Google Assistant app to answer questions and conduct searches, the news outlet reported Thursday. There were also recordings from when the assistant was accidentally triggered.

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Samsung launches a Bixby app store to better compete with Alexa and Google Home. It’s called Bixby marketplace. A report from a Belgian network, VRT, has uncovered how Google is using human subcontractors to help transcribe and improve its Assistant speech-recognition systems around the

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The Google contractor says the job entails listening to the recordings to check the accuracy of the assistant listening to users speaking in Dutch. Contractors review the script of the recorded query and confirm it matches with the voice recording. There are reportedly thousands of Google employees worldwide listening to audio excerpts via a secure login in the company's Crowdsource app.

In response to the report, Google says that these contractors listen to 0.2% of all recordings and that user accounts aren't associated with the recordings.

"These language experts review and transcribe a small set of queries to help us better understand those languages," David Monsees, product manager for Google Search, said in a blog post Thursday. "This is a critical part of the process of building speech technology, and is necessary to creating products like the Google Assistant."

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Read more: Google uses humans to review Google Assistant queries (CNET). Google has responded to the report, publishing a blog titled "More information about our processes to safeguard speech data". The search engine giant confirmed that it uses recordings in partnership with language

We already knew Amazon was peeping in on some of our conversations, and now, a new report has led to Google also admitting that it listens to us, as well. The news comes from the Dutch publication VRT NWS, which first reported on the story.

Monsees says the contractor violated the company's data security policies and there is an investigation underway.

When setting up a Google account, the option for voice and audio activity is set to off by default. Users have to opt in to store recordings on the account, and there's a disclosure that the recordings could be used to improve the speech systems.

In April, a report found Amazon uses human workers to listen to Alexa recordings to improve Alexa's accuracy.

Originally published July 11 at 7:29 a.m. PT.

Update 8:08 a.m. PT: Adds Google comment.

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