It’s no longer just always-listening microphones — Google’s new Nest Hub Max smart display adds a camera that’s always scanning for faces.
Google Home and Nest Hub gadgets already feature microphones that are always listening for the words that wake up the Assistant (“OK, Google” or “Hey, Google”). Now, the search giant’s newest gadget for your home, the Nest Hub Max smart display, adds in a camera that’s always watching for a familiar face.
Google calls the feature Face Match, and it uses facial recognition technology to remember what you look like. After that, you can tap on the screen to see personalized bits of data like calendar appointments and Google Duo messages whenever it recognizes you.
The Nest Hub Max isn’t the first product to bring facial recognition technology — and the legal and ethical considerations that come with it — into people’s homes. Smart phones have been using the technology to let us unlock our devices and authorize purchases for years, and a growing number of smart home gadgets that use cameras are putting it to use, too, including Google’s own Nest Hello video doorbell.
Still, it’s a product that seeks to give Google a wider window into our lives at a time when the company is already facing questions about the way it handles our personal data. I wanted to take a closer look at how those privacy standards apply when you add always-watching cameras into the mix.
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