Today at lunch we were talking about the primaries and how everyone was doing in the races. I was eating my lunch with my phone sitting on the table off to the side.
As our conversations continued, I picked up my phone and decided to check Google Now. There was nothing really out of the ordinary. As I scrolled, I saw this:
I thought how that’s a strange coincidence, then brought it up to the lunch crowd and joked how my phone was eavesdropping on our conversation. We all laughed and continued the joke as I put my phone down.
A few minutes later, I went back in to Google Now and it had a tile titled “Is your smartphone listening to you?”
Wow!! Really?? Yes, it was there, but too bad I didn’t screenshot it. After I clicked the link, then came back to Google Now and it refreshed, tile gone 😢
Coincidence? I think not!
Now this is not the first or second time this has happened to me, it happens way too often to be a coincidence.
Just a few minutes ago I went back to Google Now to see if that tile came back, which it didn’t, but a new one showed up:
Why on earth would Google Now think I’d be interested in “Fuller House”? Oh yeah, my wife & kids have watched almost the entire first season and we all talked about it for a good 30 minutes last night. This isn’t the first time it’s showed me a random show I don’t actively watch. I once got a “Gossip Girl” tile, which I’m assuming is because one of my daughters watches it, and she & my wife have had many conversations about it in my presence.
This is way too accurate to believe it’s simply guessing, and I’m clearly not the only one. My youngest recently watched “Finding Nemo”, again, and we talked about “Finding Dory”. Hey look! In that screenshot above it also has that in Google Now!
I honestly believe Google Now, or something within Android itself, is monitoring the conversations I’m having and feeding the info back to me. I know that’s a on the tinfoil-hat-wearing side of things, but it’s uncanny how often something like this has happened. I’ve got the Moto X Pure with hot word detection enabled, same with my old Nexus 5, they both have hot word detection, so I know for a fact it’s always listening to me, and now I’m starting to believe it’s using the data it’s collecting.
I may start trolling by repeating random phrases about things I’ve never looked up or been interested in to test my theory. I thought about also disabling background data and maybe mic permissions for some apps, but I actually use the hot word detection and send texts by voice, so I don’t want to limit myself there.
What are your thoughts?