GOOGLE HAS CRIED "mea culpa" over criticisms of a "secret" microphone in its Nest Guard home security system.
When Nest Guard was launched, no mention was made of a microphone in the base unit. The feature finally came to light earlier in the month when Google Assistant was added to Nest Guard, catching many users off guard.
A statement made to Business Insider apologises for the "error" of not declaring it sooner.
"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," said a spokesgoogler, adding "The microphone has never been on".
The company goes on to explain that it was included to allow future functionality, giving the example of breaking glass. Other home security cameras such as the Netatmo Hello already use this technology to detect sirens from non-native security products.
'So what?' you may say, but in the climate of distrust of tech that is prevalent right now, you kind of want to know what could be listening to you, and even though Google is adamant that there was no risk to privacy, we've already seen examples of microphones recording things they're not supposed to in smart home products, whilst voice assistants are still considered as having the jury out on their privacy.
To add to the fun, this isn't the first time a Google product has had to have its specs altered for security reasons. A button on the top of the Google Home Mini had to be deactivated after it was found that pressing it caused the microphone to switch on and stay on.
Nest Guard is currently only available in the USA, though we'd expect some announcement of a UK rollout during 2019. The specs for the product have now been updated to include the microphone. μ
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