OK Google voice detection is still listening

I just read about a user of a Galaxy Note 8 whose update to Android Oreo re-activated "OK Google." Or at least it seemed as though OK Google worked again after he'd previously turned off Voice Detection in settings via the Google app. This can certainly happen – but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. It's probably just a mistake, right?

As far as we can tell, Voice Detection only begins recording your voice for Google Assistant once your chosen keywords are spoken. The phone is always listening, but that data doesn't go anywhere – it's only AFTER you say "OK Google." As far as we've heard from every security researcher and Android developer we know, that activation point is true.

For some users, that's not quite enough of an assurance that they're safe from privacy invasion. Reddit user lets_go_homie is one of these people. He disabled all voice detection in his Android device so that "OK Google" does nothing. He was surprised to find OK Google activating Google Assistant once he'd updated his Galaxy Note 8 to Android Oreo.

Before updating to Oreo, saying OK Google did not activate Google Assistant for this user's Galaxy Note 8. After updating to Android Oreo, saying OK Google DID activate Google Assistant. This user suggested that once they went into his Google app settings and turned voice detection ON, then back OFF again, OK Google no longer did anything.

One possible reason for this lives inside the most recent Google Search widget. It's possible that activation of OK Google voice detection in the search widget on the home page for this user somehow tripped the Voice Detection wire when updating to Oreo. It's likely this is a bug, not a feature – and, again, heading to settings in the Google app to flip the switch again re-disables voice detection.

Head to the Google app, tap the three lines in the lower right-hand corner. Next tap Settings – Voice – Voice Match. There tap the switch next to Say "Ok Google" any time and the mics will more than likely turn off their always-listening ways. Them and their ways!