How often have you heard someone say: “Oh god, I think my phone is listening to me?”. Chances are that you’ve probably said it yourself many times. Suppose you told friends that you needed a new set of headphones during a casual conversation at dinner, then suddenly you start getting headphone ads on your smartphone – even though you never Googled it. Is this a coincidence, or is Google listening to your conversations??

The idea that our smartphones and smart devices might be eavesdropping on our conversations is a widespread belief, but is there any truth to it? Well… we got you covered to a degree. We’re going to cover some myths and chatting about how digital targeting advertising works. 


Myth #1: Google is Always Listening

One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that Google constantly listens to our conversations through our devices, ready to pick up on “hot words” and use them for targeted advertising. However, the reality is quite different. While it’s true that voice-activated devices like Google Home and smartphones with voice assistants are designed to respond to specific wake words, they are not constantly recording or storing conversations without user initiation.

Fact: Google only listens when you activate the voice assistant.

When you say the wake word (such as “Hey Google” or “OK Google”), the device starts recording and processing your voice command, the recorded data is generally encrypted and stored temporarily to improve the voice assistant’s performance.



Myth #2: Google Ads Reflect My Conversations

Some users claim they’ve experienced unsettlingly relevant advertisements after conversing about specific topics. This has led to suspicions that Google is actively listening and using this information to target ads specifically to you. Yet, the truth is less sinister.

Fact: Google uses other data sources for targeted advertising.

Google relies on various data points, including your search history, browsing habits, and online interactions, to tailor advertisements to your interests. Advertisers can create targeted campaigns based on this aggregated data. These ads often coincide with what you happened to discuss in conversation, making you think it’s because Google is listening to your conversations. The advanced data available to Google makes it great at showing you items you may like. You can even check what Google thinks it knows about you and adjust them at


Myth #3: Google Violates Privacy by Recording Everything

Concerns about privacy breaches often lead people to believe that Google is recording and storing all conversations – violating users’ privacy rights. However, the tech giant takes privacy seriously and has implemented measures to address these concerns.

Fact: Users have control over their data.

Did you know that Google allows users to review and manage their activity data, including voice recordings, through privacy settings? Users can choose to delete their voice recordings, limit data collection, or even turn off voice assistant features if they prefer not to use them.


While the idea of technology eavesdropping on our conversations may appear disconcerting, the reality is less dramatic than the myths suggest. Most tech companies prioritize user privacy and implement measures to protect personal data.  

While your phones are not actively listening to your conversations, you leave substantial trails of your identity online, explaining why targeted advertising is spot on. Targeting advertising has become a staple of online marketing strategies. It is a dynamic and personalized approach that allows advertisers to tailor their messages to specific demographics, interests, and behaviours of users – hello you!

It has transformed the advertising landscape, offering precision and customization that was once impossible. We’ll dive into this further in our next post. Stay tuned!