INTRO: Smart home products like smart speakers and smart displays have always been viewed as a possible privacy threat among some users. Recently, a Reddit user noticed that his Google Home smart speaker was ready to detect a fire alarm without having permission to try to so.
For the uninitiated, Google offers critical sound detection including fire alarm as a part of its Nest Aware subscription. However, during this case, the Reddit user had the feature enabled although he didn’t have a subscription to access it.
“Burned something within the kitchen and therefore the cheap $10 smoke detector went off. Then I got a notification on my phone that google heard the smoke detector going off. Pretty rad Google,” wrote the user.
Right after Google became conscious of things, the corporate informed Protocol that the feature was accidentally enabled to users who aren’t a part of Nest Aware subscription. additionally, the feature has since been rolled back.
“A recent software update enabled these alerts on a number of our speakers that didn’t have a subscription, but we’ve since rolled that back,” a Google spokesperson told Protocol.
Apparently, this is often not one incident. There are other user reports suggesting that the smart speaker recognized sounds of glassware breaking, which is another feature a part of Nest Aware subscription.
All these are happening at a time when company acquired a 6.6% stake in American home security provider ADT at $450 million. It remains to be seen if Google has plans to supply critical sound detection outside the Nest Aware subscription within the future.