Google Nest Protect

Google Nest Protect

Google
Wi-Fi

Review date: Nov. 8, 2021

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Super creepy

Is there anything worse than the random chirp of a smoke alarm? You can't tell which alarm is chirping. You don't know if it’s smoke or a low battery. It’s so frustrating. Maybe there’s a better option? This smoke and carbon monoxide detector tells you what it’s sensing and in which room. It even alerts you in a friendly human voice, rather than that anxiety-inducing chirp. It tests itself so you don't have to remember to. Best of all, you can silence that obnoxious alarm right from your phone! No need to haul that ladder around the house at 3am.

What could happen if something goes wrong?

Google seems to do a better job than some of the other Big Tech companies when it comes to privacy (looking at you Facebook). That said, you should be aware they are a huge ad company that needs your data to sell ads. Google promises that your voice recordings won’t be used to send you personalized ads, but they admit transcripts of your voice interactions with your may. So, while this smart smoke detector doesn't have a microphone built in (yay!), when you control it with a smart speaker like the Google Nest Mini, those voice transcripts could be used to target you ads. Google uses your personal information to show you ads all over the place like in your Gmail, in your favorite Solitaire app, on partner websites, and on YouTube.

We do like that users are now automatically opted out of Google's human review of voice recordings, because that was super creepy. We also like that Google does try to communicate with users how they collect and use data in their Safety Center. Google does collect a lot of data on you, especially if you don't take the time to adjust your privacy settings to lock down just how much info they can gather. You should absolutely take the time to adjust these privacy settings. Just beware, you will get notifications that some things might not work right if you change settings. That’s annoying, and probably worth it for a little more privacy.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Visit privacy controls to adjust the amount of data collected.
  • Delete your historical data from time to time.
  • Review Nest privacy tips.
mobile Privacy warning Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: No

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Tracks location

Device: Yes

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

While voice recordings and home environment sensor readings won't be used for ad personalization, transcripts of your voice interactions may be. Non-personally identifiable information may be shared with partners. Google says that your personal data is never sold to third parties.

Google says they keep video footage, audio recordings, and home environment sensor readings separate from advertising, and they won’t use this data for ad personalization

Google uses your personal information “to serve you relevant ads in Google products, on partner websites, and in mobile apps.” According to the company, customers own their data and it does not sell this data to third parties. Google does state it gets paid by advertisers for placing ads to you based on your personal information.

Google says they send data outside of the organization only with a user's consent.

How can you control your data?

Google provides various privacy controls, accessible via Google Privacy tools. There are several clearly defined ways to delete personal data, incl. deleting data from Nest app or deleting a whole Google Account. An autotimer can be set up for 3 or 18 month. The retention details are also listed in the Policy.

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

In August 2019, the company admitted that partners who work to analyze voice snippets from the Assistant leaked the voice snippets of some Dutch users. More than 1,000 private conversations were sent to a Belgian news outlet, some of the messages reportedly revealed sensitive information such as medical conditions and customer addresses.

In December 2018, a bug exposed the data of 52.5 million Google+ users

Can this product be used offline?

Yes

User-friendly privacy information?

Yes

All things Nest have been moved over to the Google Store. Google has a page detailing their privacy principles for Nest products.

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest.

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

Yes

Google publishes academic papers about it's AI research (https://ai.google/) and makes several tools available via open source.

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Google uses natural language processing to understand you and to generate answers to your requests.

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Yes

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Yes


News

Google reverses decision to cut off third-party Nest access
Input Magazine
Google is once again allowing third-party companies to integrate their applications and products with its line of Nest thermostats, nearly a year and a half after the tech giant first locked down its API.

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