Google might not have mentioned the massive Google+ data breach at its product-launch event today (Oct. 9) but it did note some privacy measures designed into one of its new offerings.
The new Google Home Hub, a new device that looks like a tablet strapped onto a Google Home smart speaker, doesn’t have a camera—specifically due to to privacy concerns, according to Google representatives. This is a departure from Google’s competitors like the Amazon’s Echo Show or Facebook’s new Portal, which both boast video chat as a key feature.
The search company thinks customers are going to put the Home Hub into their bedrooms and kitchens, places where privacy-minded folks might not want a camera. (Don’t mind the microphones.)
Outside of the lack of a camera, the Home Hub is basically a screen that lives on your counter or bedside table. It displays the weather and your calendar. You can ask it questions and for cooking help or watch YouTube videos on it. It also controls your smart-home devices.
However, it’s easy to argue that if you’re truly privacy-savvy, you might not want to bring voice-activated smart-home products into your house at all. Errant commands can activate virtual assistants, prompting them to record activity when you might not want to. And in the unlikely event that someone is able to hack into your device, they would then have a microphone sitting right on your kitchen counter.