Google wants to improve its Assistant's hotword detection on Android devices while also protecting users’ privacy

Google released hotword detection a few years ago, hotword detection is basically an audio listening feature that comes in Google Assistant. Hotword detection includes listening to specific words that are chosen to active the ‘OK Google’ voice interface, the voice interface in turn allows user input through spoken commands by using speech recognition technologies. It has been reported that Google wants to improve this hotword detection in Android that can also provide other means to provide protection to the users.

In a report shared by 9to5google, it is said that Google is working on a technique that will improve hotword detection on Android devices which will also be protecting the users’ privacy. The technique will be called Federated Learning in Google Assistant that is mostly aimed towards helping the tech giant’s virtual assistant to detect hotwords like ‘Hey Google’ or ‘Ok, Google’ more accurately.

What is Federated Learning? It's is a speech-enhancing technique that helps the company improve its machines learning models without the need of the user’s raw data. According to the reports, some users have detected a new Help Improve Assistant menu in the Google Assistant app, in the menu there is a toggle button that collects audio recordings of users that overall helps the virtual assistant. Google has said that whenever the users will turn on this toggle button, the federated learning system will keep a tab on all device recordings in order to improve the "Hey Google" model for 63 days, after this period the data will be deleted automatically. Currently the data can be stored up to 18 months.

Google has also brought an update to its support pages by informing their users about this update, on its supports pages the company has said that whenever Google Assistant will activate, the federated learning will temporarily start storing short bits of the users’ audio recordings on the device, with the help of this federated learning, the company will use the recordings and help the Google Assistant to adjust according to that.

The feature is still in the testing phase and isn’t available to everyone yet, when launched, it will be available for one device per Google account only.

Source: Google has introduced ‘Android Ready SE Alliance’ for users to use their digital keys, digital wallet and IDs with more security
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