Google Nest Mini

Google Nest Mini

Google $49
Wi-Fi Bluetooth

Review date: 11/02/2020

"Hey Google!" will become your new favorite greeting. Hey Google, turn on the lights. Hey Google, play Bohemian Rhapsody. Hey Google, what are the symptoms of toe fungus? Hey Google, are you still listening to me? With three built in microphones, it just could be. This little smart speaker (smart microphone?) is fun and useful...and maybe just a bit creepy? Tell us on the Creep-O-Meter below!

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). We like that users are now automatically opted out of Google's human review of voice recordings. However, Google does collect a ton of data on you, especially if you don't take the time to adjust your privacy setting to lock down just how much info they can gather. We recognize it is time consuming to have to go in and adjust setting in apps and on your phone and on your computer to protect your privacy. If you don't take the time, it's possible Google can get to know you really well, maybe too well. Maybe they recognize you from all the times you ordered plain cheese pizza. They know you are single because who orders plain cheese pizza? Just kidding, they know you're single because of all those pedicure appointments you've booked for one. Maybe it's OK Google knows you so well. Maybe it's creepy.

Privacy

Can it snoop on me?

Camera

Device: No

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: Yes

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?

While voice recordings won't be used for 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.

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?

No

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 its AI research (https://ai.google/) and makes several tools available via open source. https://ai.google/tools/

Company contact info

Updates

Thousands of Mobile Apps Leak Data from Firebase Databases
Ionut Arghire
Thousands of mobile applications running on iOS and Android have exposed over 113 gigabytes of data from 2,300 unsecured Firebase databases, enterprise mobile security firm Appthority says in a new report.
How to Use Google Privacy Settings
Thomas Germain
Google's privacy and security settings can take a little explanation to understand and use effectively. Here's a guide to the most important ones.
Google is sending a complicated privacy email to everyone — here’s what it means
Dieter Bohn
Google is returning to having humans analyze and rate anonymized audio snippets from its users. However, it’s also taken the major step of automatically opting every single user out of the setting that allows Google to store their audio. That’s why you might be getting an email today: Google would like you to opt back in to the program, and it’s trying to provide clearer information detailing what it’s all about.

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