- Google neglected to mention to Nest users and customers that the Nest Guard and Nest Cam IQ Indoor devices come with built-in microphones, which are designed to be used with Google’s Assistant voice assistant, a feature that rolled out in early February.
- Google said it was an “error” that the company didn’t mention the microphone in any documentation for Nest devices. This error raises privacy concerns among Nest users.
- Google says the microphone in Nest devices is turned off by default, and you have to enable Google Assistant during setup to turn on the mic.
- If you enabled Google Assistant during setup, you can turn off the microphone in Nest devices after the fact, but that also means you’ll turn off the voice functions of Google Assistant.
There’s a whole debacle going following a recent revelation that Google’s Nest Guard and Nest Cam IQ Indoor devices have had built-in microphones ever since they were released in 2017, but the company neglected to tell anyone.
When it was discovered that some Nest devices that didn’t advertise a microphone actually do indeed have microphones, Google told Business Insider said it was an “error” that it didn’t mention the existence of a mic in Nest device documentation. It’s not clear as of yet whether other Nest devices also have a microphone.
The good thing is that Google says the microphone on Nest devices is turned off by default. According to the search giant’s support pages for Nest devices, any mic present in a Nest device only turns on if you enable the voice-activated Google Assistant, either during setup or if later enabling Google Assistant (that feature was made available on some Nest devices in February 2019 through a software update).
If you did enable Google Assistant with your Nest devices during setup, but you want to turn off the microphone, you just need to realise that turning off the microphone will disable the voice features on Google Assistant.
Here’s how to disable the microphone on Nest devices:
1. In the Nest app, go to Settings.
(Nest Guard users should tap the “Nest Guard” option in the Settings menu)
2. Tap Google Assistant.
3. Tap the Google Assistant switch to turn it off.
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