Hot microphones seem to be causing an uproar everywhere these days. After another major company had to overcome an issue with a glitch that exploited an open microphone, Google is under fire for an undisclosed mic in the Google Nest Secure home security device.
Business Insider reports that Google brought the issue to light with the announcement that the home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update that allowed the use of Google Assistant, the company's voice-activated service. The problem? It demands the use of a microphone and users weren't aware their Nest Secure devices had one the entire time. The feature wasn't disclosed in any of the device's product materials. Here's the full statement from a Google spokesperson given to Business Insider:
"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. 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."
Apple was also accosted for an issue with a microphone when users discovered a glitch that allows someone to listen in to a person's private conversation, unknowingly, by tricking Group FaceTime into opening up the mic. It has since been fixed with the iOS 12.1.4 patch, but Google's new mic issues probably couldn't have come at a worse time.
Ultimately, have Google Assistant functionality in the Nest devices makes sense in an effort to weave all of the Google products one may have in a home into one efficient routine. Nevertheless, not disclosing the existence of a microphone on a "secure" device in an era where consumer's data is constantly being sold to advertisers is a big goof. Stay tuned to Shacknews for additional gaming and tech updates.