When I saw the Chrome blog post about Spell Up, Google’s “latest Chrome Experiment,” I could see right through what Google’s secret plan. Well, I’m not sure if it’s really a secret plan or not, but seriously: what better way to get people who speak English with foreign accents to speak into Google’s voice interface than to make a game that helps teach foreigners English?!

Google already has people talking into their phones using the “Ok, Google” command. Since February, 2014 using the same syntax people could use Google Chrome to talk to the Google search page on their computers. Now they can “play a game” in order to learn English better, which is a win-win for Google. People get to have fun and machines get to listen to people learning how to pronounce English words for the first time.

Are there any other ways Google is collecting data about how people form their words? Yes, actually, there are more ways. One of the ways, which I am guilty of using, is Google Voice/Talk/Hangouts. If you are a user of Google Voice (now called Google Hangouts) or any of its related services you’re being spied on just as much as those people playing the free English teaching game or those using “Ok, Google.” Anyone who leaves a message or talks to you on your phone (while you’re connected through Google’s Hangout service) has entered their voice data into Google’s voice database. Google already has pretty much all the information they could possibly want on me. Which is yet another motivation for me to speed up my work on all things Digital Survival.

Current projects:

Fixing water pump on car. This video was super helpful on getting that done.

Fixing the fuel pump on the truck.

Diagnosing a friend’s notebook’s issues as a motherboard problem.

Getting things ready for the move to our new house.