Google’s new smart display has a camera that’s always watching faces

Google’s new smart display has a camera that’s always watching faces

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Google's newest gadget for your home, the Nest Hub Max smart display, adds a camera that's always scanning for familiar faces. Sending that biometric data back to manufacturers could come at a compromise to our privacy.

The feature called 'Face Match' uses facial recognition technology, and the Nest Hub Max isn't the first product to bring facial recognition into people's homes. A number of smart home gadgets are putting it to use, including Google's Nest Hello video doorbell. Face Match works by scanning your face, which creates a "face model" that the device attaches to your user profile. Afterward, when you're in front of the device and it recognizes you, you can see personalized details like calendar appointments and Google Duo video messages from your contacts.

The Nest Hub gives Google more data about users at a time where the company's already being questioned about the way it handles that personal data.

Google's statements: "If camera sensing is enabled and the camera is on (i.e., not turned off via the hardware or software switch), then the camera is continuously processing pixels to look for faces and/or gestures," a Google spokesperson explained. "This processing is done locally on the device, and no pixels leave the Nest Hub Max."

When setting up the Nest Hub Max there is a disclaimer in the app warning the "face model is stored on this Nest Hub Max and used to identify you when you're in front of this device. It's also temporarily processed at Google from time to time to improve the quality of your experience with this device."

The Google spokesperson explains this by saying "the images you provide are used to build your face model, which is stored on your device. However, we occasionally use the images you provide during setup to generate a face model in the cloud for a couple of reasons, all related to improving your product experience specifically on Nest Hub Max, and motivated by the fact that we have more computing power available in the cloud."

"In all cases, if we ever process your face data at Google, it is only temporary, and all face models are permanently discarded," the spokesperson said. "You can always review and delete these enrollment images at myactivity.google.com."

Read the full story at C Net.

Image courtesy of Tom's Guide

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