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Is your Google Home secure? 2 settings to check or change right now



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Keep your personal information private by setting up Voice Match on Google Home.

Chris Monroe / CNET

A few things Google Home know if you are obvious – what kind of music do you like, how bad you are in math – because those are the things you trust the most. But Google Home ($ 130 at QVC) know a lot more about you than you might realize. This is because your smart home speaker is linked to your Google Account, so it is connected to a deep well of personal information, such as your email address and debit or credit card number. It means privacy and security settings are as important to Google Home as it is to your Gmail account.

Much of the same steps you should take to protect your Gmail account, such as using a strong password and verifying your recovery contact information, also helps secure Google Home. But you may not know how to access these settings using the Google Home app, which may be the only Google app you have on your phone or tablet.

How to find and set the two most important privacy and security settings using the Google Home app.

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The face recognition technology has been protected from privacy advocates, but it can also be used to protect your data.

James Martin / CNET

Secure your privacy with voice or face recognition

When you set up a Voice Match profile on Google Home, your smart speakers listen to your voice and use it as a fingerprint to identify you. That way, only you can check your calendar, add to your shopping list or watch your YouTube playlist on Nest Hub smart screens. Other people can still use Google Home and can even set up voice profiles with their own Google Accounts, but only you have access to your information.

That said, enabling Voice Match may provide Google data on how you sound. Google says that information is stored on your devices themselves and not in the cloud, although it may be “temporarily sent to Google to better identify” you. If you are not okay with that, this feature is not for you.

To set up Voice Match with Google Home (the process is the same for Face Match, only it uses the device’s camera and your face rather than its microphone and voice):

1. Open The Google Home appand then press your personal icon in the upper right corner, then tap Assistant settings.

2. In the horizontal menu bar, tap Assistant, then scroll down and tap Voice Match.

3. Tap Add a device. The Google Home app scans your current Wi-Fi network for compatible devices. Once done, press Continue.

4. During Enable Voice Match on this device tap the box marked I agree with, then scroll to the bottom of the next screen and tap the next box with I agree with.

5. Follow the instructions to teach Google to recognize your voice.

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Two-factor authentication is not foolproof, but it does add a layer of security that makes it harder to break into your online accounts.

James Martin / CNET

How to set up two-factor authentication on Google Home

Two-factor authentication, aka two-step verification, is not a completely foolproof means to secure an online account, but it’s miles better than nothing at all. Having a two-factor setting on Google Home means that if someone were to try, say, set up a Google Home smart speaker using your stolen login information, they would probably be discouraged if they had not also lifted your smartphone. The bottom line is that it does not hinder or degrade your experience with Google Home, so there is really no reason not to set it.

The first thing you need to do is different depending on the phone:

Android: make sure you are logged in to the account you use for Google Home by opening settingsand then press Accounts and then add Account. Select Google and log in to your account.

iPhone: Download Gmail app from the App Store, if you do not already have it and sign in with the account you use for Google Home, then Allow notifications when prompted

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Two-factor authentication does not affect how you use your Google Home smart speaker after setting it up.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The rest is the same for each phone:

1. Open The Google Home appand then press your personal icon in the upper right corner, then press Assistant settings.

2. During You menu, press Your tasks in the assistant then roll to the bottom.

3. During More options for managing your privacy, tap the box marked Google Account.

4. Scroll to the horizontal menu bar at the top (the one that has Home, Personal info, Data & personalization) over and tap security.

5. During Sign in to Google, Press Use your phone to log in. Tap on the next screen Set up then enter your Password and knock Sign in.

6. The screen should now say What you need with Your phone (with your phone listed) and Press ID controlled. Tap Next.

7. During Attempt you should see email address for your Google Account. Press the button marked Next under it.

8. You should get one immediately notification on your phone and ask Are you trying to log in? (if you use an iPhone here notification comes from Gmail app). Press notification and select Yes.

9. If your phone asks if you want to use any of these face recognition or fingerprint identification (depending on your phone) select Yes.

10. Go back to The Google Home app, which should now say It worked! Put it on? and tap the box that says Putting on.

Check out our complete guide to strengthening your Google home privacy and security settings here, or our even broader guide to secure your total google account here. For email-specific privacy settings, here are four Gmail settings to change Immediately.


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