Snippet: Google and the Hidden Microphone ☇

Shared on February 21, 2019

Nick Bastone for Business Insider:

In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update. Users, the company said, could now enable its virtual-assistant technology, Google Assistant.

The problem: Nest users didn’t know a microphone 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 in the Nest Secure offering, was never disclosed in any of the product material for the device.

There have often been instances where I’ve bought gadgets that have a USB port “reserved for future use” or maybe some unused headers on a circuit board—I often wondered what those were for, but most companies mention the inclusion of things like this. A microphone, even if not functional, adds just a bit of creepiness and should have been disclosed.

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