Google acknowledged they failed to inform customers that one of their home alarm products contained a microphone
The Nest Guard, a home security alarm system from Google that can be used with a code or tap of a key fob, has been available since 2017, however, its product specifications did not mention it having a microphone. This device is one component in the Nest Secure range of home security products which includes various sensors that can be monitored remotely by the user.
Recently, the firm stated a software update would make Nest Guard voice-controlled. This would be done by making the product compatible with Google Assistant, plus, the word “microphone” was only now added to the product’s specifications.
Therefore, customers began to worry and raised questions because they did not previously know the product has a built-in microphone, and were told on Twitter that the microphone “has not been used up to this point.” Google admitted the fact that they made a mistake by not disclosing the presence of the microphone:
“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part. The microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.”
They also stated: “Security systems often use microphones to provide features that rely on sound sensing. We included the mic on the device so that we can potentially offer additional features to our users in the future, such as the ability to detect broken glass.”
Google bought Nest back in 2014 when it was known for its smart thermostat device, it then became a standalone company in 2015 when Google reorganized as Alphabet, but in February 2018 it was brought back into Google. Nowadays, Nest offers a variety of Internet of Things products such as smoke detectors, video doorbells, and security cameras.