Google’s Hidden Microphones


Google’s Nest Guard Division

The Nest Guard home security device.

Brendan Guillen, Reporter

On February 19, 2019 Google revealed the newest feature to be added to the Nest Guard device—voice commands—that can be used by the built-in microphone the company failed to mention to its users.

The Nest Guard—an all in one security system—has been available for purchase since 2017, however no note was made of the interior microphone. According to a Google spokesperson, the microphone was “never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs.” The company also stated that the microphones “have not been in use” and in fact only activate once users enable the feature.

The microphone was originally installed in order to add additional features such as detecting broken glass during break-ins.

California Senator Kamala Harris weighed in on the issue, stating “Americans shouldn’t have to fear that the products in their home are spying on them.” Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney also commented on the issue, saying “[We] need to pass laws requiring the disclosure of privacy related issues beyond your portable devices, which is what’s everyone narrowingly thinks.”

This is not the only issue Google has had with it’s devices. Last month, a bug affected the Nest indoor and outdoor cameras, making them function as if someone was using the live view mode despite that not being the case.

The information has made users of all devices question how much privacy they have, especially in light of the Mark Zuckerburg court case last year.