Promoting the new devices as a matter of convenience, as it has done with the Google Home speaker, the tech giant seems to expect that users will readily accept even more (and more detailed) surveillance for the promise of greater ease and convenience. The unevenness of that trade-off (something as precious as privacy for something as unimportant as convenience) is why this writer refers to such technology as “surveillance as a feature.”
While Google may have started out as a search engine and is still largely associated with that aspect of its business model, the reality is that Google’s main business (to which the search engine aspect is completely subservient) is data-mining and data analysis. Consider that the tech titan has amassed a net value of roughly $200 billion by offering “free” services, such as search, e-mail, calendar, and address book, along with YouTube and other services. That $200 billion has largely been made by gathering troves of personal data on its more than one billion users and leveraging that data into advertising revenues. The company also routinely filters and manipulates search results for the benefit of political candidates and policies favored by the company’s leaders.
As an indication of the thinking of the folks over at Google, the description for one of the patents begins by lamenting the lack of ability to use current “smart-devices” to accomplish the level of surveillance the company desires. The patent is explained in 258 paragraphs. Paragraph  and  state:
Perhaps one of the most disturbing elements is found is paragraph . It describes the presence of sensors, cameras, and microphones in bathrooms to determine whether a person is brushing his teeth— based on “an audio signature and/or video signature” to measure such things as “the sounds and/or images of teeth brushing” and the sound of the sink being left on for the time it takes a person to brush their teeth.
Let that sink in for just a moment: sensors, cameras, and microphones in your bathroom? Remember that paragraph  already discussed the fact that the devices can detect the presence of children. This means that the folks over at Google are already aware that there are children in the world. Those children take baths and showers. Google wants you to point a camera and a microphone at your children while they bathe?
And that is far from the only access to your children sought by Google. Another patent filed by Google discusses the tech company’s plans to monitor children as a type of digital nanny. As The Atlantic reported: