Google to eavesdrop on your calls triggering skepticism

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Google I/O 2024 saw a tonne of AI-focused updates including Gemini 1.5 Flash and speed bumps to Gemini 1.5 Pro to name a few. One such announcement that took the tech community by storm and yes, you might have guessed it, I am talking about Google Gemini AI eavesdropping over all your phone calls. Hearing this has raised quite a few eyebrows although Google maintains otherwise.

Google I/O 2024 saw the search engine making an announcement i.e. starting soon, AI will monitor your calls triggering warnings in case something doesn’t add up. For instance, a demo showed how Google AI was able to spot a potential fraud when the demo caller asked the recipient to transfer funds to a different account. It triggered pop-up promptings that are likely to spam because banks never ask you to move money as such.

The move is to prevent people from falling for scam calls that are on the rise. Scammers are using every trick in the book (and outside the box) to lure innocent users into paying them. Having an AI overlook and monitor all your calls seems promising since based on its previously trained data, it can detect potential fraudulent activities even in case users aren’t aware of it. This will reduce the number of people falling for scams and the amount of money these scammers make fooling innocent users. 

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There’s an equally dark side to Google monitoring your phone calls

How would you feel that your calls with someone are overheard by a third person? It is surely discomforting since I don’t want anyone to hear my calls. This is a breach of privacy as I don’t want when and how the information I share on-call will be used against me.

Google has already squashed the dilemma users were going through if a third entity will get to listen to the calls. The search engine giant has maintained all the AI processing is done on-device and thus, the data never leaves your phone let alone routed through any random servers that you won’t be aware of.

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The idea of spam detection by monitoring calls seems promising but it is a major privacy breach. It is still unclear whether the information will be stored somewhere and how to not fall prey to any third party. It is quite a known fact that data is sold off the market and in case call data is leaked, there’s a potential that it would cause extensive damage to users.

Google is steadily adding AI to its suite of products and services. Having said that, this phone call spam monitoring feature will be available across devices shortly. It could be a part of a pay-per-month Gemini Advanced subscription. No doubt it sounds a bit creepy irrespective of what Google has maintained during the introduction of this feature. 

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