Insurance & Technology is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


11:22 AM
Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek
Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek
Connect Directly

Google Recalls Nest Smoke Detector

Algorithm-detection flaw may misread any nearby motion as a command to silence an alarm.

Google's Nest Labs is recalling about 440,000 smoke detectors because activity near the devices can be misinterpreted as a command to silence the alarm.

The company, acquired in January by Google for $3.2 billion, identified the problem in early April. CEO Tony Fadell said in a blog post at the time that recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide alarm revealed that the device's Nest Wave feature, which allows users to turn off the alarm with a wave of the hand, could be activated inadvertently, thereby preventing the device's alarm from sounding during a fire.

[ Insurers In Tough Battle For SMAC Talent. ]

A list of frequently asked questions posted by Nest Labs indicates that the flaw lies in the Nest Wave algorithm, which analyzes motion detection data. Nest Labs halted sales of its smoke detector voluntarily last month and temporarily addressed the issue through a software update that disables Nest Wave. The recall notice formalizes the company's response to the problem through the involvement of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The recall does not require removing the device and sending it back to Nest. The CPSC says that customers who have not connected their Nest Protect to the Internet through a WiFi network should do so to receive a software update that disables Nest Wave.

[ Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek. ]

Register for Insurance & Technology Newsletters