Google admits error about hiding microphone in Nest Guard


Search engine giant Google has admitted that it has made an error by not disclosing that one of its home alarm products had an microphone. The product specifications of the Nest Guard that was available since 2017 did not have any mention about the listening device. However, the firm earlier this month said that a software update will make the Nest Guard voice-controlled.

The concerned Nest owners were told on Twitter that the microphone has not been used up to this point. The Nest Guard is one of the components in the Nest Secure range of home security products. The system includes many sensors that can be monitored remotely by the users. The Nest-Guard is an all-in-one alarm, keypad as well as a motion sensor but despite that being announced about more than a year back, the word microphone was added to the product specifications only this month.

The change also coincided with the announcement that it was now compatible with Google Assistant. Google while talking about the criticism and said, “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.” The search engine added that the security systems often use microphones to provide features that they rely on sound sensing.

The Nest Guard went on sale in the US as a part of Google’s Secure alarm system. The company is also planning a release in Europe and Canada but the dates are not known. Nest is a company which is known for its smart thermostat and was acquired by Google in February 2014 for reportedly $3.2bn. The acknowledgement has come a day after Singapore Airlines faced criticism for installing cameras in the backs of its plane seats as a part of a new in-flight entertainment system.

Photo Credits: The inquirer

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