Is Nest Audio Always Listening? Is It Recording Me?
Smart home speakers have infiltrated the American home in a big way, and it is expected that by 2025, 75% of homes will have at least one. The Google Nest Audio is one of the premier options on the market, and this little device has made controlling your technological devices and listening to audio entertainment infinitely easier. But some people are wondering is the Nest Audio always listening? Is it recording me?
The reality is, we really don’t know if the Nest Audio is always listening, or even if it is recording us. Google’s official stance is no, it is not listening and is certainly not recording, but some research has shown that this may not be the whole truth.
While the jury is still out on whether or not the Nest Audios is either always listening or even recording your personal conversations, there is a lot of information out there that you should know. Luckily for you, we have collected all the research and are going to answer your many questions right now.
Technically, the Nest Audio is always listening. However, Google claims that even though the microphones are always on (unless you choose to mute them), they are not actively listening unless you wake them up with the “Hey Google” or “Okay Google” command.
Although owners of the Nest Audio have reported that often a loud sound or even other phrases have “woken up” the device. Which kind of means that it really is listening to everything, and just sometimes responds.
Obviously, the voice control feature of the device is pretty handy, the fact that at any moment you can simply ask your Google Nest Audio to play your favorite song, update you on the score of a sports game, or even turn up the temperature in your home is quite amazing.
So it’s unfortunate that the only way to stop your Nest Audio from listening is to enable the mute option, thus disabling the convenient voice command function.
Now, if you believe that the Nest Audio is always listening, which most research has shown to be true, then you may be wondering if the private conversations in your home are being recorded.
Once again, the answer is a little complicated. Officially, Google states that they are only recording what you say after using the wake words “Okay Google” and “Hey Google” and they say that these recordings are for your own benefit.
Essentially, the recordings are to enable Google to know more about you, and therefore can be of better service when you are either asking a question or voicing a command.
Google also has claimed that these recordings are not held forever by a database, but instead are stored temporarily while you consistently accessing your smart home device.
However, a great deal of research has shown that Google may actually be storing your information, preferences, and voice indefinitely, and maybe even forever.
Although you can not stop Google from recording your voice commands, luckily, you can opt to not send your recordings into Google’s headquarters, but you have to follow the steps to turn this option off.
Most consumers do not feel comfortable with the fact that Google claims the device is only listening after using one of the wake words, as they do not specify the time limit for how long after saying the commands that it stops listening.
If you feel uncomfortable with the fact that Google may be listening to your conversations, unfortunately there is only one way to stop it: mute the Nest Audio.
In order to do so, you need to find the mute button on the back of the device next to the power cord. Once it is muted, the button should turn orange.
Unfortunately, when the device is muted, you won’t be able to use voice commands, however, you can still command the device through the Google Home app on your phone, it’s just slightly less convenient.
So let’s recap, Google’s smart home speaker, the Nest Audio, has three microphones which are technically always on, but apparently not listening until you wake the device up.
However, there is certainly a debate amongst users on whether or not they believe that the device is not listening at all times. Unless you turn off the microphone, there will always be a possibility that your conversations are being heard.
When it comes to recording, once again, there is a little confusion. Google states that they only record your voice commands requests to better get to know you, and they state they record them but do not store them, but people are starting to believe that they hold on for a lot longer than they say.
Hopefully, you now understand both sides of the argument and can make an informed decision for yourself!