GOOGLE HOME AND GOOGLE ASSISTANT – ASSISTANT OR DOOM FOR PRIVACY | GROUP 7

by Steven Abreu, Regina Velaquez, Matius Chairani, Malte Granderath

The Service/Business: Google Assistant and Google Home

Google Home is a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant. Ask it questions. Tell it to do things. It’s your own Google, always ready to help. Just start with, “Ok Google””1This is Google’s description of its new service. You can place the gadget into any room of your house and once you ask it to do something it will use the Google Assistant software1.

The Google Assistant is a new service by Google, which uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and collected data to assist you with almost anything. You can talk to it and it answers back. The main processing does not take place on the device but on the Google servers. “Ask it anything”2. This is repeated often on the Google Assistant site. Google wants the Assistant to be able to help you in any scenario. Tell your Assistant to play jazz on the living room speakers, set your “go to gym” alarm, make a reservation, send a message, or turn your kitchen lights off”2.

  • “Tell it to do things.”2
  • “Ask it anything.”2
  • “All your devices. One Assistant.”2
  • “Safe, secure and in your control.”2google-assistant-3

Why is it Big Data?

Personalized Search is an innovation that has transformed the way we use search engines irreversibly. Search Engines, like Google, are in many cases the first web-page we open in our browsers, they are integrated into our smartphones – like the new service by Google called Google Assistant. We, as users, search for lots of information every day. We search for restaurants, for doctors and even research personal issues, but we never think about what the data actually tells about us. Every single search query is stored for future reference.

This year, Google will release new services, namely Google Assistant and Google Home. Those two services can do a lot more than just search the web. They can reserve seats at a restaurant, control your home, retrieve flight information, and much more1. Google Home is a hardware that listens to sound even when in standby mode and it turns on when a specific keyword is said1. Then it will record the voice of the user and process what the user wants, by sending it to the Google servers to be extensively processed. This means that even more data will be collected about the users. The users do not have to take out a smartphone or laptop. Google will be accessible to them everywhere. Google collects every tiny bit of data about a user it can get and then uses that data for future actions of the user. Considering the huge amounts of data accessible to Google through these services, this is a perfect example of the use of big data.

  • 3.5 billion Google searches per day3
  • More than half of the searches come from mobile3
  • 20% of searches are conducted by voice4

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Strengths

  • Facilitates the information accessibility
  • Very user friendly
  • Further enables Google to lock in customers
  • Convenient for consumers to use more Google products/services
  • Compatible with other widely used services (Spotify, Uber, Pandora, Philips Hue, Youtube)

Weaknesses

  • Might be seen as to invasive
  • Privacy issues

Opportunities

  • Monopoly in data-driven personalized services
  • Pioneer in growing machine learning and AI market
  • Rising demand in quickly accessible information

Challenges / Threats

  • Regulations on privacy and data collection
  • Service is too new and unfamiliar to consumers
    • Possibility of not entering mainstream marketplace

Videos:

Preliminary Bibliography:

  1. https://madeby.google.com/home/ (accessed 6 Oct 2016)
  2. https://assistant.google.com/ (accessed 6 Oct 2016)
  3. http://mashable.com/2015/10/12/google-mobile-searches/#krjAdGDEgkqK (accessed 6 Oct 2016)
  4. http://searchengineland.com/google-reveals-20-percent-queries-voice-queries-249917 (accessed 6 Oct 2016)
  5. http://www.futureofmediaevents.com/2011/05/20/the-pros-and-cons-of-personalization/ (accessed 6 Oct 2016)
  6. http://searchengineland.com/the-pros-cons-of-personalized-search-10697 (accessed 6 Oct 2016)
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3 thoughts on “GOOGLE HOME AND GOOGLE ASSISTANT – ASSISTANT OR DOOM FOR PRIVACY | GROUP 7

    1. Well, at some point any one of us will have to decide whether he is willing to accept a almost total dependency on intransparent, propriatary systems like that for sake of the convenience it brings (or at least some people claim so) or whether he prefers to keep his freedom.

      In any case, what concerns me much more, is that there is a tendency that many people just blindly assume everybody else to use these systems as well, channeling major parts of their live through these systems and making it impossible for other people to interact with them by other means. This can be very annoying especially in cases where an interaction is required for some reason.
      So for instance, I can decide not to use facebook, twitter… not to have a smartphone and so on, but at some point it gets difficult. For example in cases where governmental services are only provided using some specific technical means, it forces you to either comply, to not use the service or to find a way to circumvent the law in a safe manner and each of these solutions is unsafisfactory.

      So in short I don’t really have a problem with people giving away their freedom, for whatever reason, but I hate these peoples ignorance affecting the people who don’t.

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      1. To give a concrete example it is almost impossible to make online transactions anonymously, while still paying taxes. Even though there exist some systems who would make possible (see https://savannah.gnu.org/projects/taler/) as long as nobody cares, website owners will not give you the option to use the system and governments will not support its application either. Therefore, there is about no legal way to make private money transactions through the internet.

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