upnorth

Level 28
Content Creator
Trusted
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Google has acknowledged that it made an error in not disclosing that one of its home alarm products contained a microphone.

Product specifications for the Nest Guard, available since 2017, had made no mention of the listening device. But earlier this month, the firm said a software update would make Nest Guard voice-controlled. On Twitter, concerned Nest owners were told the microphone "has not been used up to this point”. Business Insider was first to report the development. The Nest Guard is one component in the Nest Secure range of home security products. The system includes various sensors that can be monitored remotely by the user. Nest Guard is an all-in-one alarm, keypad, and motion sensor but, despite being announced well over a year ago, the word “microphone” was only added to the product’s specification this month.

In response to criticism, Google said on Tuesday: "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.” It added: “The microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option. "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.” The firm's mea culpa has been accepted as genuine by many company watchers, but some say it still raises significant privacy concerns. "This is the kind of thing that makes me paranoid of smart home devices," commented Nick Heer, who writes the Pixel Envy blog. "If I owned one of these things and found out that the world's biggest advertising company hid a microphone in my home for a year, I'd be livid."
 

Weebarra

Level 15
Verified
What the heck are the authorities doing whilst all this goes on. They really need to start hitting all these tech companies hard and i mean really hard because the way they are slapping them on the wrists just isn't working. Company apologises = small fine, and then they just carry on doing what they were doing until they get found out again. :mad: It makes my blood boil.
 

Slyguy

Level 40
Illegal wiretap?
That's exactly what this is... While I do love Chromebooks, I have no illusions that Google isn't pure evil bent on world destruction for the most part. Also I have no illusions to the fact that they are absolutely a militarized company conducting information warfare on the world.

There is no possible way this was an oversight. What happened was, they hid microphones in their gear, likely at the behest of US Intelligence while at the same time scrubbing all mention of it on all forms, papers, ads, and technical specifications.

Someday the truth will be known about Google, and when it is known, it won't be pretty.

 

Raiden

Level 9
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So you build a mic into a product knowingly and some how the designers forgot it was there...:emoji_thinking:

I can see it now:
Software engineer, " You know what would be great? We should add a mic to allow voice commands!
Hardware engineer: That's a great idea, now we can use that mic we built in.
Software engineer: There's already a mic built in?
Hardware engineer: ooh, ahhh, sorry spouse called, family emergency... runs out of the building.
 

jogs

Level 16
Verified
It may contains a hidden camera, may be some kind of sensor or something like that, who knows.

Lot of times I think how some companies like Google, FB, Whatsapp etc make so much money without taking anything from their users. Yes they have other source of income like advertising but that happens only when they gain lots of users but before that the revenues from advertisement is not that high.
So, where do they get their money from and who are the investors and why do they invest.
Yes these companies are innovative but innovation doesn't always brings lots of money and these companies gained lots of money in very less time. There has to be something else.
 
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Slyguy

Level 40
Google always gets busted, then later says it was a bug/mistake/error/oversight/rogue-employee, or whatever they can cook up as the most valid excuse at the time for their felonious workings.

Like when they were scooping up WiFi SSID's with mapping vehicles.. "Oh hey, that was never supposed to be on"..