Google’s Nest Home-Security Camera Devices Had Hidden Microphones

A security camera on a white brick wall next to a sign that says "Made by Google"

Google apologized Wednesday to customers who purchased its Nest Secure home-security system. The device is equipped with a microphone that has gone unmentioned since it went on sale in 2017. Earlier in February, Google announced on Twitter an upcoming software update that activated the microphone, making the Nest Guard responsive to voice commands and Google Assistant technology. The tweet startled users, who were never told the system could pick up sound.

“Have I had a device with a hidden microphone in my house this entire time?” one user asked.

Missing from the Nest account’s response was the word yes, but to be clear: Yes.

“We included a microphone in the Nest Guard with features such as the Google Assistant in mind. It has not been used up to this point, and you can enable or disable it at any time using the Nest app,” the company wrote on Twitter.

Google has since updated its product page to include a description of the microphone. Via email, a company spokesperson admitted that failing to mention the device in previous materials was an “error,” and the company’s intention was to eventually allow users to enable the microphone to detect disturbances or intrusions, such as the sound of glass breaking.

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