A Nest camera is one of the absolute best security cameras you can buy. They’re great for giving users the ability to remotely check on their home if a suspicious person is lurking about, and they’re also great for using as a baby monitor or a way to check on your dog while you’re at work.
But Google Nest has done something unexpected with the privacy functionality on each and every Nest camera available: it has forced the recording light to stay on at all times.
While this doesn’t seem like much of a big deal initially, it doesn’t take long to figure out how this change could seriously undermine the functionality of Nest cameras in specific situations.
For example, someone who is lurking about your home will now be able to better see those hidden security cameras around your premises thanks to the glowing light on each and every Google Nest Cam Outdoor. Or you may find your baby’s sleep disturbed by the security camera you’ve placed on their dresser thanks to the bright light on the front.
We reached out to Google Nest to find out a little more about this change, and a Google spokesperson’s response certainly lends legitimacy to their decision:
1) What prompted this decision?Advertisement
Respect for our users and all those around our camera devices triggered this change. And so as part of our privacy commitments we outlined how our products work in your home, we committed that you will always see a clear visual indicator when your Nest devices sending information to Google.
2) Will Google Nest consider offering a way for users to opt-out or disable the light at all?
The decision was not triggered by legal requirements but because we deeply believe it’s the right thing to do to protect the privacy of our user community. We are sensitive to some users’ concerns around having a bright light on whenever their camera is in use. To address these concerns, users can dim the light on their cameras.Advertisement
As you’ll find in the link above, Google has detailed several steps where they are working to better educate their customers, both present and future, on the seriousness in which Google takes user privacy.
Knowing that a hard-coded light on a Nest camera cannot be shut off for any reason while it is on certainly gives a peace of mind to many folks who are worried about tech companies or nefarious folks spying on their everyday conversations and activities.
It’s also not the first time we’ve seen concern about the many cameras in our lives being used to watch our every move.
In fact, when Google Nest unveiled the Nest Hub Max at Google I/O 2019, it did so with the explicit purpose of providing users with a way to physically shut the camera off when they wanted to do it.
The big question now is whether or not users should be allowed to do what they want with the products they own.
There’s been a fair bit of hue and cry from patrons that are upset that their choice has been taken away, especially given that they spent good money on a product that had this ability before.
Is it within Google’s right to do this, or is this a step too far? Privacy concerns are important, but so is user choice, and it’s entirely possible that customers will be choosing other brands in the near future if this change doesn’t sit well with them.