Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google $249
Wi-Fi

Review date: 11/02/2020

Learning is fun! Owning a thermostat that learns all about how warm and cool you like your house is maybe fun too? According to Google, use this thermostat for a week and it'll adapt to you. The app lets you control the temperature in your home from anywhere and sends alerts when things don't look quite right. Best of all, that learning can help save energy and money. The big question is, can it learn who’s side to pick when you like it hot and your partner likes it cold?

What could happen if something goes wrong

Nest is owned by Google, which means they have the full force of Google behind their security features, which is a good thing. It also has the full force of Google behind its privacy features and Google wants to learn as much about you as it can. So while video recordings, voice recordings, and home environment sensor readings won't be used to target you with ads, transcripts of your voice interactions may. That's why it's always good to take time to lock down your privacy settings. This thermostat doesn't have a built-in microphone though, so that's nice.

Privacy

Can it snoop on me?

Camera

Device: No

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: No

App: Yes

Tracks Location

Device: Yes

App: Yes

What is required to sign up?

What data does it collect?

How does it use this data?

Google says that your personal data is never sold to third parties. Non-personally identifiable information may be shared with partners.

How can you control your data?

You can review and delete your data in the Nest app or via the Google Privacy Dashboard.

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

Needs Improvement

In 2018, personal information was exposed in several incidents, resulting from access by app developers, exposure by mobile apps, or a bug in Google + API. Google has also stored location data without permission.

Can this product be used offline?

Yes

User friendly privacy information?

Yes

Links to privacy information

Security

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest.

Encryption

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest.

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Google has a Security Rewards program, which means that anyone who finds a security issue and discloses it responsibly may get paid. https://www.google.com/about/appsecurity/programs-home/

Privacy policy

Yes

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

Artificial Intelligence

Does the product use AI?

Yes

Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?

Yes

Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?

Yes

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

Company contact info

Updates

Nest Thermostat Glitch Leaves Users in the Cold
New York Times
Last week, my once-beloved “smart” thermostat suffered from a mysterious software bug that drained its battery and sent our home into a chill in the middle of the night.
Google exec says Nest owners should probably warn their guests that their conversations are being recorded
Business Insider
Google devices chief Rick Osterloh said he believes anyone "in proximity" of a microphone-fitted smart device like Google Nest or Amazon Echo should be informed the devices are in use.

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