Guest Mode now available on Google Assistant

When the feature is switched on, it will not save user interactions to their account.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor on

Google has introduced Guest Mode to Google Assistant to give users the chance to ensure their interactions with their Google smart speakers or displays, including Nest Audio and Nest Hub Max, are not saved to their account when this new mode is switched on.

When Guest Mode is switched on, users will be able to continue to ask questions, control smart home devices, set timers, and play music, but will not be able to access personal results, such as calendar entries or contacts, until Guest Mode is switched off.

Google added the device will also automatically delete audio recordings and Google Assistant activity from the device owner's account when in Guest Mode.

However, if users are interacting with other apps and services, such as Google Maps, YouTube, or other media and smart home services while in Guest Mode, those apps may still save that activity, Google said.

To switch on Guest Mode, it is a matter of users saying, "Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode", before the device plays a special chime and a guest icon is displayed. To be switched off, users just have to ask Google to turn off the feature.

Users can also check if their device is still on Guest Mode by asking Google, "Is Guest Mode on?"

Google product manager Philippe de Lurand Pierre-Paul said Guest Mode was designed to give users more privacy controls, suggesting it could come in handy when guests are over and don't want their interactions saved to a user's existing account.

"Google Assistant is designed to automatically safeguard your privacy and offer simple ways for you to control how it works with your data," he wrote in a blog post.

Guest Mode is now available on Google Nest speakers and displays in English. Google said it plans to bring the feature in more languages and devices in the next few months.

This latest feature builds on other Assistant privacy features Google introduced just last week at CES 2021, including allowing users to delete a record of the most recent command by saying, "Hey Google, that wasn't for you", or asking "Hey Google, are you saving my audio data?" to learn about their privacy controls and go directly into the settings screen to change their preferences.

Google confirmed in August that third-party workers were "systematically listening" and leaking private Dutch conversations collected by the assistant. 

Belgian public broadcaster VRT NWS revealed that more than 1,000 files had been leaked from these workers, including recordings from instances where users accidentally triggered Google's software. After the incident, Google paused all of its language review operations. 

Google revamped its Assistant privacy policy last year. The changes from last year included Google making it default for the voice assistant to not retain audio recordings once a request was fulfilled, meaning that users have to opt-in to let Google keep any voice recordings made by the device. It also added a feature that allows users to review and delete past, historical audio recordings.

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