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Microphone hidden in Nest Secure was “never intended to be a secret”

Earlier this month, Google surprised everyone by announcing that the Nest Secure would be getting a surprising upgrade: it would soon function as a Google Home Mini.

‘How would it do that without a microphone,’ you might wonder. Well, it turns out it has a microphone, it’s just that Google never thought to mention it to shoppers buying the thing on the list of specifications. That’s unsurprisingly got people a little bit unnerved.

The company claims that the microphone was never enabled, and was a part just lying dormant until a feature arrived to utilise it. Designers pictured a world where the Nest Secure might be able to hear the sound of broken glass, say, and warn you of a possible break-in in progress.

The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs,” a spokesperson told Business Insider. “That was an error on our part.”

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To be entirely fair to Google, this sounds believable enough. After all, people trying to smuggle secret recording devices into  homes don’t tend to announce them later in a press release.

But at the same time, that’s not really the point, and it’s not a great look for a company that is getting the wrong kind of attention for its approach to privacy.

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If you’re reading this in the UK, the whole controversy won’t affect you at all, of course. While the Nest Secure has been available in America since 2017, there’s still no release date in site for us Brits.

We’ve heard this year as a possibility, and if that is the case, expect to see a microphone listed fairly prominently in its tech specs – you can’t imagine Google making the same mistake twice.

Is the hidden microphone a problem for you? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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