Google has recently admitted that it made a mistake by not disclosing that its Nest Secure home security system includes an on-device microphone. An insider from the company gave a speech saying, “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.”
Early February, Google announced that it’s would add in-built Google Assistant support to the Nest Guard, which is the Nest Secure system’s hub and keypad. The security system’s product page didn’t mention that it included a microphone earlier. Google clarified in its statement that, “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.” Google said
A microphone that is undisclosed presents a couple of challenges. It’s either you do not trust Google to not be listening to your conversations (which is something that people often accuse Facebook of doing through their phone’s microphone), or it’s that you don’t trust the microphone to be free of being hacked by a third party and used to spy on you. Either ways, Google should have made known the existence of the microphone when Nest Secure was initially announced, and users can rightly feel their trust has been betrayed by the sellers of Nest products.