At its now annual fall hardware event in Seattle, Amazon announced that it will be rolling out a new update to Alexa later this year that will allow users to auto-delete their voice recordings older than three or 18 months. This will be in addition to the existing “ability to access and delete utterances individually, or all at once, which customers have today.” The new privacy-focused feature will be rolled out to users in India simultaneously as the rest of the world.
Amazon already allows users to manually delete their Alexa voice recordings. There is, for instance, an option to say, “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” or “Alexa, delete what I just said,” but again, these are features that users need to be aware about and hit delete jumping hoops that may not necessarily be everyone's cup of tea. Auto-delete seems more useful and practical – it's sort of like how messages in your recycle bin are automatically deleted after a certain period of time. All it should take is a toggle press and all your Alexa voice recordings “older than three or 18 months automatically deleted on an ongoing basis.” There’s also an option to “delete utterances individually, or all at once,” just in case.
Companies like Amazon that thrive on user data have come into the spotlight recently after instances of third-parties/humans and not AI were allowed to listen to users’ voice recordings to seemingly better serve these users – without their knowledge. Amazon is being a little more transparent about its data practices since then by allowing users to opt out of a human review of their voice recordings. Giving users the option to delete their Alexa voice recordings is another step forward in restoring user faith. “We’re taking it one step further with auto-delete,” Amazon says.
There were more software-related announcements alongside auto-delete, including multilingual support for users in India. This means Alexa users will be able to seamlessly switch between Hindi and English as part of their general conversation instead of manually going into the settings to change their language preferences. The announcement comes just a month after Amazon announced Hindi language support for Alexa.