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Guest Mode arrives on Google smart speakers to boost privacy on shared devices

The better the Google Assistant knows you and your voice, the better it performs. However, there are times when you really don’t want those requests added to the record.

Google is now introducing a Guest Mode for its smart speakers and displays, which will ensure any requests are not added to the Google account.

When users say “Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode” they will be able to access non-personal features like playing music, consulting Google search, set timers, or control their smart home devices. However, they will not be able to access features like calendar and contacts.

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It’ll remain on until the user says “Hey Google, turn off Guest Mode,” while users will be able to ask “Is Guest Mode on?” to clarify.

Philippe de Lurand Pierre-Paul, in a blog post, explains some practical uses for the guest mode beyond protecting privacy.

“Recently, I was looking up new recipes to surprise my family with a nice New Year’s Eve dinner, but didn’t want those suggestions to appear on our Smart Display and spoil my plans,” he writes on the Google blog. “By turning on Guest Mode I could ask Google for recipes suggestions knowing that research wouldn’t show up in my history, and without having to manually go through my settings or toggle other controls on and off. When I finished, I turned Guest Mode off so I could enjoy my fully personalized Assistant and use things like my custom routine, which helps me unwind by playing my favorite jazz music and prepares me for the next day by reviewing my calendar.

“Guest Mode can also come in handy when you have people over and you don’t want their interactions with your device to be saved to your account. You or your guests can easily turn it on and off at any time. Whatever your reason, we know there are times you may not want your own Google Assistant interactions saved — the choice is always yours.”

Google first previewed this new mode in October last year, but it’s now on its way out to the smart speakers and smart devices like the Max Hub.