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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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? ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.