Google’s taking heat for accidentally on purpose putting a mic in Nest devices

It is Thursday, February 21, 2019. In case you forgot.
On Tuesday, Business Insider reported that the Nest Secure smart home device has a built-in microphone that Google failed to mention to users (secure now lookin' like a poor word choice).

Before we continue, a bit of backstory on the Nest + Google saga

Nest and Google’s on-again, off-again relationship 

In 2014, Google acquired smart home device maker Nest (known for its fancy thermostat), for a whopping $3.2 billion.

When Google restructured as Alphabet in 2015, Nest was broken out into the company’s “other bets” category in part as a response to privacy concerns about what Google would do with data collected from the Nest devices.

Then just over a year ago, Nest was brought back under the Google umbrella as part of Google’s strategy to win the all-out war against Amazon for smart home domination.  

Big Picture: Google wants to crush Amazon’s Alexa by putting a Google Assistant in every home.  

Back to the secret microphone.  

Google’s Trojan Horse

Two weeks ago, Google announced that the Nest Secure device, intended to be used as a home security system, can now also act as the voice-controlled Google Assistant.

Users were confused as there was no mention of a microphone in the original specs (which Nest has since amended) -- prompting this whole fiasco.

Google has since responded, claiming that the microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been included in the tech specs.

Intentionally deceiving or not, the less-than-secure Nest Secure is just the latest big tech breach of trust that consumers have come to expect.

With the market for smart speaker adoption expected to grow six times over by 2022, the tech giants are all doubling-down on their smart home efforts.

So far it looks like privacy concerns have yet to deter consumers from making Alexa or Google Assistant a part of the family -- will they ever?
in other news
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Museum nerds wanted

Ever check out the guided tour tape player when visiting a museum? Me neither, but Boston-based museum engagement startup Cuseum is hoping to change that. Cuseum offers app-based curated tours with augmented reality and other features to help museums interact with their visitors. 

Check the job board for open roles.
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Brendan Uyeshiro
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