Google Didn’t Mention The Nest Secure Has A Built-In Microphone
American search engine giant Google hasn’t had the best reputation when it comes to users privacy. The company failed to maintain user data when a serious security bug in its social media offering, Google+ was found. The company has once again found itself amidst controversy when it was discovered that one of is products, the Nest Secure has a built-in microphone which went unnoticed for more than a year.
Google Nest Secure Controversy
Google acquired the home security company Nest in 2014 and then merged it under the Google brand last year. The Nest Secure bundle of devices were introduced in 2017. Google announced in early February this year that the Nest Guard, one of the devices in the Secure bundle, would double up as a voice assistant; as it will gain Google Assistant functionality. Using Google Assistant to work hands-free requires a microphone, and this microphone was never disclosed to have been present in the device. After the update, the users then would receive an email with instructions on how to turn on the microphone and set Google Assistant up on the device.
The controversy also arises from the fact that the product page of the device didn’t mention the presence of the hardware for more than a year. The page has since been updated with a microphone mentioned in the ‘Audio and Lights’ section of the product description. This oversight on Google’s part is being taken down as a serious offence in breaching a users privacy. There have been many negative sentiments about the company’s actions, most of them coming from US politicians who are concerned about the user’s privacy.
Google has since clarified in a statement, that it never meant to keep the information about the presence of a microphone a ‘secret’. It also mentioned that the hardware was disabled until the update, and will continue to do so if the user desires.