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Google admits error over hidden microphone

Published: February 20, 2019
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Source: bbc.com

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.

The change coincided with the announcement that it was now compatible with Google Assistant.

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.”

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