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Google says the Nest microphone "would never be secret"



In early February, Google announced that Nest Secure's home security and alarm system would receive an update – users could now activate their virtual assistant technology, Google Assistant.

The problem: Nest users did not know that a microphone even existed on their security device to begin with.

The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard (which is the alarm, keypad, and motion sensor component of the Nest Secure offer) was never revealed in any of the product material for the device.

On Tuesday, a Google spokesman Business Insider explained that the company had made a "mistake".

"The microphone on the device was never supposed to be secret and should have been listed in technical specifications. There was a fault on our side," said the spokesman.

Nest Guard
Nest

Google says "the microphone has never been on and only activated when users specifically activate the option."

Read more: Google reabsorbs Nest, the smart home business that bought it for $ 3.2 billion in 2014

It is also said that the microphone is originally included in Nest Guard for the ability to add new security features along the line, as the ability to detect broken glass.

But even though Google has included the microphone in its Nest Guard device for future updates – such as its assistant integration – the news consumers have become increasingly cautious about large technology companies and their commitment to consumer privacy.

For Google, the revelation is particularly problematic and takes into account previous confidentiality controversies, such as the 2010 event, where the company admitted that its fleet of Street View cars "inadvertently" collected personal data over consumer's unsecured WiFi networks, including emails.

Google bought Nest – originally known for its smart thermostat unit – back in 2014 for $ 3.2 billion. It became an independent company in 2015 when Google was reorganized as the alphabet, but in February 2018, it was returned to Google under the leadership of the chief product manager Rick Osterloh.

Today, Nest offers a variety of IoT products, including smoke detectors, video doors and security cameras.


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