Google, Smart Speakers and Privacy

January 25, 2021

Rectangle Circle
On January 13, Voicebot covered an announcement by Google about changes to their voice assistant approvals. The news prompted an interesting discussion among players from all sides of the voice industry on Linkedin. 

Many of the discussion participants wondered about Google’s motivations.
SoapBox Labs’ COO Dr. Martyn Farrows feels that Google’s decision is motivated by privacy concerns. As he explains:

“Ensuring privacy and ‘age appropriateness’ is a tough ask for smart assistant offerings like Google’s that are fundamentally designed for adults and for the monetisation of personal data”.

Martyn continues:

“Many of us in the kids’ voice tech space have been making the argument for years that kids deserve their own voice technology ecosystem, built from the ground up and with their needs – and legal requirements like COPPA and GDPR – in mind”.

As a privacy-first company with our ears attuned to consumer and brand sentiment, it’s clear that in 2021 the PR risks of not protecting kids’ data are growing. 
For our enterprise customers in the entertainment and education industries, it’s also clear however, that a trusted ‘child-centric’ ecosystem represents huge and new opportunities – to expand their end-user markets and to launch new voice-powered solutions that offer kids deeper and more creative learning and play experiences.
Kids deserve access to all the benefits of voice, just as much as adults do. To deliver those benefits and fulfill the market’s considerable growth potential, kid-specific companies like ours and generic off-the-shelf providers like Google must build trust. 
Read more: Martyn’s guest post in Voicebot
Watch: Privacy interview with child anthropologist Dr. Veronica Barassi
Save the date: Data Privacy Day and our partner Privo’s event
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