Feeds

Google's Nest halts sales of its fire alarm – because waving your hand switches it off

Updates push over the air to fix safety concern

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Google's Internet-of-Things wunderkind Nest is disabling a software feature called Nest Wave, citing safety concerns.

In this letter to customers, Nest Labs CEO Tony Fadell writes: “During recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, we observed a unique combination of circumstances that caused us to question whether the Nest Wave (a feature that enables you to turn off your alarm with a wave of the hand) could be unintentionally activated. This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire.”

As a result, Fadell says, the feature is being disabled immediately and automatically in all Nest devices in the field, and “we have also halted sales of all new Nest Protect alarms to ensure no one buys an alarm that needs an immediate update.”

Let's just look at the salient point again: the disabling is happening automatically, without any intervention required on the part of the user. As noted in the letter: “Within 24 hours, Nest Wave will be automatically disabled. You don’t need to do anything and even with this feature disabled, our smoke alarm will continue to work very effectively”.

If hackers of all hat shades between white and black weren't already looking at the functionality that gives Nest Labs the ability to push device updates without user interaction, they probably are now.

In the rare case that the Nest Labs alarm device has found its way into an installation with no WiFi access and no Nest user account, the company is offering refunds.

Last January, Fadell promised that for the time being, Google's ownership of the company wouldn't see its data swallowed up into the Chocolate Factory's advertising data sets. So El Reg has to accept that so far, it's only using its unfettered access to connected devices for good, not evil. Right? ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.