How to Disable Google Assistant – And Why You Might Want To

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OK Google, stop draining my battery and randomly exploding into conversation while I’m with my friends. Follow our guide on how to turn off Google Assistant.

You’ve got to admit, Google Assistant is pretty cool. The artificial intelligence (kind of) can pick up on your voice commands and engage in two way conversations with you. She can sing you a song and give your a freestyle breakdancing beat. She can also provide you with some interesting facts if you ask her to. Google Assistant is like the secretary for people who can’t afford to actually shell out an annual salary to have someone following them around and searching things on the internet and occasionally dropping facts about the Mayan Empire. 

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There are many reasons why having this warm little friend on your Android or Smart device is a great idea. She makes getting tasks done easier by saving you from having to type, and having things read back to you in a calm female voice is weirdly soothing. Also, for lonely people, she’s a bit of company that doesn’t require a litter tray and seven cans of food a week. 

If you’re really lonely and have money to burn, you could even consider buying a lightweight Android or Google phone, attaching it to your dog and then having conversations with it through Google Assistant. Amazing. Finally, you can ask your dog about what makes it tick.

Why Deactivate Google Assistant?

So, there are clearly many reasons to use Google Assistant. However, sometimes she can be a little bit much – like when you’re having a chat with your friends and suddenly she’s yelling about the first settlers in Canada when you were neither talking about that, nor were you asking her to talk about anything at all.

As a matter of fact, there are many reasons to deactivate Google Assistant. Some of them are genuine gripes, while others are more up to speculation – regardless, all are concerns for some people, and most will be considered in this article.

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First, Google Assistant drains your battery. How could she. Having Google Assistant running in the background will accelerate the decline of your battery, so turning it off is a good way to make your phone last longer so that you can actually use it in an emergency, such as when you’re stranded and need a way home, or when you need to call the emergency services – as opposed to being able to show your friends that your phone sings for you on command.

This can actually be gotten around to some extent – assuming you don’t want to deactivate Google Assistant all the time, just go to your Settings and change it to only recognize voice commands from inside the app itself, rather than at all times. This means that the app will only be listening to you when you have the Google Assistant app open, and therefore will preserve battery life. The same tactic can be used to accommodate the next concern people have with Google Assistant… 

Is Google listening to your every word? In short, yes. Although, to suggest that it stores everything you say in some magical hard drive (would have to be given the sheer amount of space this would require) is pretty absurd. There would be no reason for it and it would violate the company’s privacy standards so violently that there’s no way it couldn’t get out into the general public. However, the assistant does listen to your every word, waiting for you to prompt it. This disconcerts some people, who have good reasons to assume that what you say can be used to target you with ads. There was an experiment that you can find on YouTube where a man sits talking loudly about various subjects that are usually of zero concern to his life, then goes onto Facebook afterwards. Lo and behold, there are now ads on his Facebook about the conversation topics he was having. 

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She randomly starts chatting off command. It’s not that this is intentional, it’s just that sometimes the microphone on your device picks up what you’re saying as “OK Google” as if the assistant is maybe a bit too eager to strut her stuff. As a result of this, Google Assistant does occasionally just start yelling random information at you from your pocket even though you didn’t want her to. While this can actually produce hilarious results, it can also get pretty annoying, especially if it happens a lot. 

So, now we’ve gone over some of the reasons why you might want to get shot of Google Assistant, let’s find out exactly how to shut her up.

How to Disable Google Assistant

Disabling Google Assistant is easy, and if you’re really getting into the mood then you could actually use the Google Assistant to execute at least part of the process, like watching birds eat leftover KFC, unwittingly feasting on their own kind. 

  1. First, open the Google app, then go to Settings
  2. Next, go down to the Device section and select Phone (or any other device you’re using). 
  3. Now, simply uncheck the Google Assistant box. Done. 
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That was pretty easy, wasn’t it? What if you don’t want to completely disable it? In that case, there are some other options. 

You can repeat this process but keep Google Assistant activated and instead disable Access With Voice Match. This method was mentioned earlier in the article and it means that you’ll have to open Google Assistant to use it, rather than have it pick up on your voice every time you say “OK Google.” This means that it won’t burst into conversation at random times and it also won’t listen to your every word (in theory, at least – this really depends on how much trust you have in the tech giant). 

You can also deactivate the support button for Google Assistant, meaning you won’t accidentally turn it on and use it. Go to your device menu and press Default Applications, then Device Assistant App. This allows you to choose which assistant app will open up when you hit the start button and actually allows you to continue using the app – just without the added burden of accidentally activating it.

Between these ways to deactivate Google Assistant, you can choose between various levels of extremity on how to reign the app in. I hope you found this useful.

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