One has to wonder just why Google hid a microphone it its Nest security system and never told customers that the thing was inside the device? In any case, Google is now admitting the mic is in there and that it was juuuust a mistake that customers weren’t told about it.
The Nest systems started in 2011 with a smart thermostat and have grown into making smoke detectors, smart doorbells, and other home security devices. Google purchased Nest in 2014 and now it is a Google company.
In 2013 Nest launched its Nest Protect system and in 2015, an updated device was put on the market. Tis device has a microphone inside it that Google never bothered to list on any spec sheets or in any operations manuals or other information.
Now, as Business Insider reported, Google is apologizing and saying that it was all just an unfortunate accident that no one was told that a mic was inside their device.
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.
On Tuesday, a Google representative told Business Insider the company had made an “error.”
“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs,” the person said. “That was an error on our part.”
Google says “the microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.”
… or when someone at Google uses the Internet to turn it on when you don’t know it.
And isn’t that the worry? That Google added the mic in secret to spy on customers from the device sitting in their homes?
Google went on to insist that the mic was added for possible features to be added in the future. One idea they have is that the mic can pick up “breaking glass” and alert homeowners when a window is being broken by home invaders.
Google can’t be trusted. We already know this.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.