Android-powered watch poked its nose too far into my business

I went for a walk this evening, and on return headed to the toilet. So far so good, except that I was still wearing my ‘smart’ watch. As I turned around and flushed the watch buzzed. I looked at the screen to see the message:

Now wash your hands for 40 seconds. Start timer?

I do not recall being notified that my watch was watching me quite so closely! While I am a keen non-religious ablutionist (in fact, somewhat at the obsessive/compulsive end of the spectrum) I do not appreciate that my device knows what I am doing and when! Normally I do not wear it at home, but this evening I neglected to take it off immediately. From now this watch is only going to be worn when I am out tracking my exercise.

Has anyone else had an experience like this, of their device suddenly intruding into the real world and telling them what they should do?



With a watch like than,You won’t need to install the Government tracking app.


Not quite that intrusive. FitBit will keep giving you reminders you have ‘x’ more steps to go To get to an intermediate goal, and other reminders during the day. We turned off the allow location data on the linked IPhone.

Curiosity asks how the device was so astute or accurate in it’s assessment. Did it identify the sound of a water flush, or has Google geotagged our special places? It might be wise to never provide it access to the bedroom. Unless there is another reminder that is important. ‘Hoogle - dim the lights please. :wink:


Unders Settings, Apps there is a switch “Allow access to infrared gas analyser” that must be enabled.


Next to the wake up reminder setting that detects snoring, and politely insists you roll over. :slightly_smiling_face:


I suspect it heard the sound of the flush. Location data would be insufficiently accurate to pin down that I had merely stood up and turned around.

More broadly, I am extremely careful (paranoid) about cameras that might point at the wrong place at the wrong time. I always assume that a camera is operational - but with microphones this is much more difficult. Especially when speakers can also act as microphones (as I discovered several years ago).


I cannot speak for google, but there is a very valuable app called ‘Where is Public Toilet’ that is pretty accurate, so …


It could also possibly have picked up that you sat down for a certain amount of time and then stood up, and combined with the heart rate data (doing a number two can cause your heart rate to increase and then come back to normal).
I can’t think of many other situations where you’d sit down, your heart rate would increase and then you’d stand up and it would drop. A decent algorithm between the accelerometer and the heart rate data would pick that up I reckon.

It appears it is not geo-location that triggered this, nor sounds.

Google has been sending notifications to wearable devices reminding ‘us’ to was our hands (‘doing its part to remind us of the COVID-19 controls’). It appears to be coincidence that the notification was received at the same time as going to the toilet…

These notifications can be disabled as well, if one finds them intrusive or unwarranted.

Samsung has also joined the bandwagon as well…

Its it a good thing…may to those with poor personal hygiene…but 40 minutes sounds excessive when most health agencies recommended a 20 second soap hand wash.


Ah - thank you. I had not realised this, and it was indeed very interesting timing. I see that TechRadar tells me how to disable the function, so I will do that when the opportunity presents itself.

I agree.


That’s an understatement.

Google noticed I visited a public toilet one afternoon in Bulimba and added it to my timeline.