1. G4ist's Avatar
    Hello everybody
    This is my first smartphone, and I've chosen the LG G4.

    I'm worried about the google bar showing the microphone blue.
    As far as I am aware, this indicates that the microphone is active.

    Obviously, I don't want this.

    How can I switch the mic off?

    Thanks
    10-17-2018 02:48 PM
  2. SpookDroid's Avatar
    Might be just how the widget looks. You can try just opening the Google app and see that the microphone isn't actually on (you wouldn't be able to record video or audio notes, for instance, or do speech to text from the keyboard if this was the case; you'd get an error saying the microphone is being used by another app).
    10-17-2018 03:00 PM
  3. methodman89's Avatar
    This is how mine looks on Android 8.0.0, Experience 9.0 while inactive in the first 2 pics. The 3rd Pic it is listening.
    I
    G4ist likes this.
    10-17-2018 03:28 PM
  4. SpookDroid's Avatar
    This is how mine looks on Android 8.0.0, Experience 9.0 while inactive in the first 2 pics. The 3rd Pic it is listening. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...ffe66ad32c.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...85ff319a7d.jpg
    Ihttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...c35e88f73a.jpg
    But that's the active screen, not the widget (or at least that's how I read the OP...). In Nova, for instance, I can set the widget to be colorful and there, the microphone is blue (again, on the widget).
    G4ist likes this.
    10-17-2018 04:50 PM
  5. methodman89's Avatar
    But that's the active screen, not the widget (or at least that's how I read the OP...). In Nova, for instance, I can set the widget to be colorful and there, the microphone is blue (again, on the widget).
    Ah, I read too deep then. Blue is the correct color of the widget /icon.
    SpookDroid and G4ist like this.
    10-17-2018 05:24 PM
  6. SpookDroid's Avatar
    Thanks @methodman89 ! OK OP, there's your answer: the widget's color is always blue, but that doesn't mean the mic is live
    G4ist likes this.
    10-17-2018 05:46 PM
  7. G4ist's Avatar
    Thanks also to @methodman89 and everybody who took the time to help.

    The test "okay Google" proved that the mic is ON.

    The screen flicked to search, and involuntarily I exclaimed "oh my effing....."
    and the exclamation appeared in the search box.

    That is creepy.

    So, does anybody know how to turn this microphone off
    10-18-2018 05:33 AM
  8. G4ist's Avatar
    the widget's color is always blue, but that doesn't mean the mic is live
    Yes.
    I discovered how to switch the mic off ... at least, it no longer responds to "okay google".

    Annoyingly, as @SpookDroid pointed out, the colour no longer changes from solid to empty (to provide an 'at a glance' knowledge of ON or OFF)

    Method

    Settings - General - Apps - Google App - Permissions - Microphone OFF (toggle to left).

    Great, I've gained control of the microphone

    It's a win.
    Good for morale as I look ahead to to much more learning.

    I may be back
    10-18-2018 05:57 AM
  9. methodman89's Avatar
    It was only listening as you discovered for the wake phrase 'Okay Google' though. Otherwise, it was not recording or sending audio.
    SpookDroid likes this.
    10-18-2018 06:34 AM
  10. G4ist's Avatar
    There is some dispute over that (I believe).
    ... concern that the microphone can listen regardless.

    This is a deep technical question concerning 'what is possible'

    I am unable to ascertain the facts for myself, but there is enough noise to indicate that we should err on the side of caution.

    Google has informed us that they make available our emails to third parties - imagine if you run your business through gmail?

    There is a good deal of concern over people installing listening devices in the home - Alexa etc.

    There is no public oversight of this kit, so we have every reason to proceed with caution.

    We do what we can to keep ourselves safe ... but it's probably not enough
    10-18-2018 09:44 AM
  11. methodman89's Avatar
    There is some dispute over that (I believe).
    ... concern that the microphone can listen regardless.

    This is a deep technical question concerning 'what is possible'

    I am unable to ascertain the facts for myself, but there is enough noise to indicate that we should err on the side of caution.

    Google has informed us that they make available our emails to third parties - imagine if you run your business through gmail?

    There is a good deal of concern over people installing listening devices in the home - Alexa etc.

    There is no public oversight of this kit, so we have every reason to proceed with caution.

    We do what we can to keep ourselves safe ... but it's probably not enough
    It has to listen for the wake phrase at all times, but packet transmission occurs after the it is awake. You can verify this by using a wifi data app, and note when the device becomes active during testing. As far as hacking, or 'dropping in', that is a distinct possibility with any transmission capable device.
    G4ist and SpookDroid like this.
    10-18-2018 09:53 AM
  12. G4ist's Avatar
    @methodman89 Thanks for that test method
    10-18-2018 09:57 AM
  13. SpookDroid's Avatar
    Yup, you can 'tin foil hat' about everything in tech now, but you gotta choose what you want to use: a smartphone that can be truly smart or go back to 'dumb' phone era. Your messages already go through someone else's server anyway, and the contents of the e-mails are scrubbed and not personally identifiable or whole-body-text shared.

    But again, we all take what 'private' means differently.

    I didn't know you meant the 'hot word' setting though, my bad. Like the above said, if you have that active (just like on a smart speaker at home), yes, the device is always listening but not always recording or sending audio (which you can also review from your Google Settings, each and every audio snippet sent to Google's servers for recognition of Assistant commands) until it hears the 'hot word', then it sends whatever snippet it hears afterwards until there's 'reasonable pause/silence'
    10-18-2018 11:52 AM
  14. methodman89's Avatar
    Even the Amazon tap has added a user setting so it can be toggled to 'always listening' (without a visual notifier) . So in effect, on the server side, they always had the ability to bypass the push to use /listen requirement. Were they? Probably somewhere it's residing on a server in the high, cold, desert.
    10-18-2018 01:14 PM
  15. SpookDroid's Avatar
    Always listening does not equate to always recording/sending audio to Amazon/Google/Apple/WhateverDemonEvilCompanyYouWantToName. Again, you can run the packet test if you want.

    That being said, devices are still finicky sometimes and can THINK they heard the hot word and start recording/actioning.
    10-18-2018 01:19 PM
  16. G4ist's Avatar
    This is a difficult discussion because it touches upon very serious, and real concerns that have arisen from the mass adoption of this technology.

    From my own experiences in the PC world - I know as a (tested) fact that there are commercial consequences (actions) taken, as a result of monitored data.

    We are all algorithmically graded.
    Just this afternoon, a friend told me how his phone knew exactly where he was by the shop specific ads that were being sent to his phone.

    Most people remain machine monitored (and dealt with).
    ... but if you hit the wrong grade, you can find yourself on a human monitored list - I speak from experience.

    From that point, you can understand why there is a whole slice of the population that is concerned about their own security (and the security of others).

    There are real world consequences.

    Oh yes @SpookDroid ... would you mind me saying ... it is no longer considered cool to mention tin foil hats (as you did).
    It was a fun descriptor, that flipped due to over use.

    It was meant to signify nutters....
    10-18-2018 02:07 PM
  17. SpookDroid's Avatar
    Most of those services can be turned off, but people don't like to read instructions or bother with customizing their services (like location tracking or the fact that you agree to use cookies or see ads from post context when you sign up for a service, usually free, and forego reading the ToS). Others like the ability to be shown relevant ads depending on location (I do, saved me hundreds of dollars so far and given me cash back galore), get traffic recommendations and such. Again, I understand why some people mind that a company has that much information about their habits and whereabouts, and some of us are OK with the trade-off of simplicity and added value that comes with it. I KNOW Google is an ad-company first. It's what they do. It's what they're good at. But if I want privacy, then I just turn off my phone.
    10-18-2018 02:39 PM

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