Google's "error" by not mentioning that your Nest devices contain microphones

in google •  3 months ago

Google made an "error".

That is the position of the company in the face of a scandal that has broken out after it became known that their Nest Guard devices, a home security system that came on the market in 2017, contain a microphone.

Nest Guard includes an alarm, a keyboard and a motion sensor. But despite having gone on the market more than a year ago, the word "microphone" was not added to the product specifications until last month.

The change coincided with Google's announcement in early February that its Nest systems can now be used with the Google Assistant voice assistant thanks to a software update.

On Twitter, some users of the brand were concerned.

Business Insider was the first medium to report on the event.

In response to criticism, Google said the following on Tuesday: "It was never intended that the microphone on the device was a secret and should have been in the technical specifications of the device, it was an error on our part," the company said.

He added: "The microphone has never been activated and can only be done when users specifically allow that option."

What worries
"Security systems often use microphones to provide options that depend on sound detection, and we include the microphone in the device to be able to offer additional features to our users in the future, such as the ability to detect broken glass."

The mea culpa of the technology firm has been accepted and taken for granted by many analysts and observers of the company, but some say that, despite everything, it raises important security concerns.

"This is the kind of thing that makes me feel paranoid about smart devices for the home," said Nick Heer, author of the Pixel Envy tech blog.

"If I had one of these devices and found out that the world's largest advertising company hid a microphone in my home for a year, I would be furious."

New York Times reporter Tom Zeller said on Twitter: "If Google's Nest devices really had secret microphones that were hidden from consumers, they should be forgiven if they do not trust the company now."

Big Brother Watch, a British organization that defends the right to privacy, said many of its concerns about smart home devices seem to be coming true and that "Google should take responsibility for wrongly promoting this product."

Nest Guard went on sale last year in the United States. The launch in Europe and Canada is among the plans of the company, but has not yet been executed.

Nest, a company known for its smart thermostat, was acquired by Google in February 2014 for US $ 3.2 billion.

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