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Nest Guard features a hidden microphone that Google “forgot” to tell you about

Whose house? Google’s house.

Nest guard on table being used
Image: Nest

When it was reported that the Google Nest security device would be enabled with Google Assistant features, users didn’t immediately do the math on how that would work. The only way it would work would be if Google Nest had a microphone baked into it. But the specs didn’t list a microphone, so how would this work? Well, as it turns out, there is a microphone that users didn’t know existed.

Located on the Nest Guard, the control device for the Nest Secure product, the microphone will be able to answer Google Assistant commands but is once again forcing a large tech company to answer questions about privacy it probably doesn’t want to. In a statement to Business Insider, Google pretty much claims that not including the microphone in the specs was an error, rather than an attempt at deception. That’s probably a mixture of bullshit and strategic planning.

While Google claims the microphone has not been used to this point and will be used for sound sensing for the purpose of additional security features in relation to the Nest, at this point you either don’t care about tech companies listening in or don’t own smart home tech devices at all. If you do use Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa or even (ugh) Apple HomePod, then you have already made a blood pact with the tech devil that your home life is now not totally your own.

Once you put a Google Home Hub in your home and start being polite to Google Assistant, it’s a quick and dirty path to not being totally surprised that your Nest has a microphone in it. Even if Google didn’t immediately disclose that fact, it doesn’t matter, you’ve accepted your fate as a demographic serving tool of the machine.

Why didn’t Google include the microphone on the specs sheet?

Google not revealing the Nest had a microphone may have been planned in order not to give away future features, like Google Assistant support. Or it may have truly been an oversight in the specs. Or it could have been skipped in order to not raise more privacy concerns besides letting a Google-owned device run your home security. Google knows how to literally get into your house. Google is watching you sleep, watching you eat, watching you do weird stuff to yourself while watching Goth Hentai Furry porn.

While the Nest product page has been updated — do you really give a shit? Do we really give a shit? Sure, microphones could be hacked, or be listening for the purposes of selling you ads on different platforms, but you already have a dozen smart home devices. That concern already exists, or doesn’t. Adding voice commands to your security system is a handy feature. Unless your security system is a piece of wood that prevents the sliding door from being opened. News flash: they can just break the glass.

We keep feigning surprise when we find out that our smart home devices are not always what they seem. They are spying on us. They are listening to us. They are watching us. These are things they have to do in order to respond to our commands and the assumption that somehow, they only are active when our brains command them to be is a bit naive. When we buy these things and put them in our homes, we make an unspoken pact that deep down, we don’t really give a flying hoot what data they collect, and what they hear, as long as they make our lives easier.

This is all still new tech and it cannot yet read our minds. It must be aware in order to be of service. Your Nest has to be able to hear you in order to respond to commands. Every smart device you put in your home creates the same environment that you claim to fear. You can’t have it both ways. Either give in to the machine or don’t. Just don’t act so surprised when you find out the machine is listening and knows damn near everything.

What do you think? Angry at Google for not disclosing the microphone or is this par for the course at this point? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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