The infusion of federated learning in Gboard has helped Google collect on popular terms at the moment by collecting anonymous data and spitting out a delta with new information. The company now brings federated learning to Google Assistant on phones to help it better detect when you say (or when you do not say) “Hello Google.”
When you look at the settings in the Google Assistant app, some users find a new Help Improve Assistant menu. In it is an exchange that allows Google to collect the user’s audio recordings for the purpose of improving the overall assistant service.
A dip in the Google Assistant help pages provides more specific information about what the company collects:
When Google Assistant is enabled or almost enabled, federated learning temporarily stores short snippets of your voice recordings on your device. With federated learning, we use these footage to learn how to adjust Google Assistant’s triggering logic.
The particular model that is in place right now is meant to deal with false positives and false negative prices to pick up the phrase “Hi Google.”
To clarify, Google servers receive your sound when “Hello Google” activates your smart device. Depending on how you configure your web and app activity settings, the sound can live online for as long as 18 months.
When you turn on the switch, federal learning saves audio recordings of successful “Hey Google” recordings, as well as utterances that do not activate the device locally only to the device for up to 63 days. It also logs data about your device, how and when you use it, and whether or not assistant interactions were satisfactory. Google gets the recordings and all that data from entire user blocks at a time – meant to keep these recordings relatively private – but does not store it on its servers after adjusting its training model. Users can freely turn off the Help Improve Assistant which will delete the recordings and data from the device.
If you are curious about other details, you can check out the help article here. Feature availability seems to be scarce right now – 9to5Google finds that it is at most one device per Google Account.