What you need to know
- Spotify's "Hey Spotify" hands-free feature is now rolling out to iOS and Android users in the U.S.
- Spotify also filed on a new patent for technology that'll theoretically let the app monitor your voice to read your mood in service of relevant music and advertising.
Spotify today finally announced its new "Hey Spotify" feature, one that will allow users to verbally summon Spotify's voice search feature without having the app open as if it were Alexa or the Google Assistant. It's rolling out now in some parts of the U.S. to Android and iOS phones, though Spotify plans to expand availability going forward.
Writing in a blog post today, the Spotify team shared some tidbits on their approach to privacy, mimicking approaches taken by Google and Amazon:
In a section spotted by the folks over at Engadget, Spotify says that it'll be using voice data for a couple of things, including suggesting more relevant ads. Of course, Spotify may also be using those to further its voice ads program, but that program has been all but dead for a while now.
Spotify's ideas for voice data use have already raised the alarm among researchers, and this step seems unlikely to quell those concerns.
But now Spotify seems intent on going a step further. They filed a patent to use artificial intelligence voice recognition software to monitor music listeners' conversations and use our voices to infer things like "gender, emotional state, and accent" to recommend music and ads.But now Spotify seems intent on going a step further. They filed a patent to use artificial intelligence voice recognition software to monitor music listeners' conversations and use our voices to infer things like "gender, emotional state, and accent" to recommend music and ads.— Evan Greer (@evan_greer) April 8, 2021April 8, 2021
It's not clear whether Spotify will start using voice data for ads right away or how that gels with its stated aim of deleting snippets of unrelated text. One thing's for certain; the company's done a good job providing proof to the paranoid.
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