back to article Google reveals OnHub WiFi router, complete with GLOWING RING

Google will shortly release its first WiFi router and has made automatic updating a frontline feature. The new "OnHub" is designed to offer a rather more pleasant experience for home users, starting with a cute coffee cup form factor and extending to an app-driven user interface. Google's even banished blinking lights [Heresy …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trust Google to intercept and route your net traffic?

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Trust Google to intercept and route your net traffic?

      If you place your ear close to the speaker on the top you can hear the sound of bits cheering and whooping as they disappear down into the Intertubes and are transparently routed through Google's data centres.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Trust Google to intercept and route your net traffic?

      If you have a gmail account and use some other services Google know pretty much everything about you anyway. This isn't a big step.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Trust Google to intercept and route your net traffic?

        Beg pardon? How does let them know my browsing history? Are you one of those people who use the Google search page instead of the address bar to input URLs...?

        1. dotdavid

          Re: Trust Google to intercept and route your net traffic?

          @DropBear - How about Google Analytics tracking cookies

        2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          Re: Trust Google to intercept and route your net traffic?

          "Beg pardon? How does let them know my browsing history? Are you one of those people who use the Google search page instead of the address bar to input URLs...?"

          If you're not running NoScript or something equivalent, Google will know what you see due to Google analytics already running on that page. This is why Google really no longer needs to use cookies because they already collect enough data to know its you. They can associate machines to you and they can even figure out if the same machine is being used by different people.

          Its not just browsing history... But lets also consider why they want your wifi unit....

          Like BT and other providers, they can use the spare capacity to act as a hot spot.

          Also they can use it as a known GPS location to help better pin point you in terms of A-GPS.

          If you worry about the Chinese hardware being bugged. Think again.. do you really trust Google?

        3. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Trust Google to intercept and route your net traffic?

          Here's a qute from someone on Hackers' News which spells it out...

          "Oh, come on. Just connect your Google router to your Google fiber connection and connect to it with your smartphone or laptop running a Google operating system and Google browser. Visit your Google home page (using Google's DNS servers, of course) to read your Google Mail, or perhaps catch up on the news with Google News, or use Google+ to see what your friends are up to, or get a little work done on Google Docs. Should you do some Google searches and end up on some non-Google sites, don't worry - you're still safe under the watchful eye of Google AdSense and Google Analytics. What have you got to be so paranoid about?"

  2. Michael Thibault
    Trollface

    What else could possibly be wrong with this picture?

    >Google has also harnessed its Android platform with an app that serves as a management system for OnHub.

    Oh!

    >It helps users set up, and trouble, shoot and manage remote connections for the device.

    TFTFY

    Go Android!

  3. x 7 Silver badge

    how long before the so-far hidden mobile phone base station capability is unveiled?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      That'll be turned on shortly before they turn on the people upload functionality as seen in The Bells of Saint John.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The new "OnHub" is designed to offer a rather more pleasant experience for home users, starting with a cute coffee cup form factor and extending to an app-driven user interface. Google's even banished blinking lights [Heresy! - Ed.] and instead equipped the device with a glowing ring that changes hue to report its status.

    Yes, it's always a good idea to make a dangerous tool helpful and apparently innocuous.

    Google inside? Not in a billion years. If you need any help understanding that I suggest you look at the current Android mess, and how well they are onboard with ideas that protect your privacy.

    1. Decade
      Meh

      This Google OnHub thing seems to be modeled on the Google Nexus. They may not care about your privacy, but they do take care of security. Unless a FISA judge tells them to hand your data to US agencies in secret. But hey, that’s way better than AT&T, which astonishes even the intelligence community with how eager they are to sell out their customers.

      In my opinion, the biggest competition this device faces is not another high-end router, but no router. The ISPs are pushing really hard to upgrade people to combination modem and WiFi routers. Preferably rented. And this would have been good for consumers, because the ISP is in charge of maintaining and upgrading those things for the lifetime of the service. Except that they forgot to include customer service and good software updates.

      It’s also tricky to get IPv6 through the combination modem and WiFi routers. IPv4 with NAT works because, eh, another layer of NAT, nobody will notice, incoming connections are for pirates anyway. IPv6 requires proper prefix delegation, which is handled differently depending on the ISP, and the customer probably has to log into the combination modem WiFi router thingy to place it into bridge mode. If it even has a proper bridge mode. I’m curious to see how Google intends to handle this issue.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: I’m curious to see how Google intends to handle this issue

        With truckloads of Washington lobbying money, I'd wager.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      " look at the current Android mess"

      That's correct. It's impossible to turn on location services, to locate yourself, while not also agreeing to send the location to Google for helpful ad-making and generally intruding into your life.

      And, god, how much configuration I had to do just to stop Google from sneakily eating my data allowance when I'm out and about. The same goes for eating my battery juice.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Er, no thanks

    It's stylish and cool and all that, and I'm sure it'll sell well to those who like/can afford that sort of thing, but no, no thanks.

    What with having to ensure Microsoft don't get the Back door with Windows 10, why would I now give Google control of the Front door?

    I was musing recently about whether or not Microsoft had plans for such a thing - it would seem to fit with Windows 10's ideas about sharing WiFi access and acting as a distribution hub for Windows Update. If they weren't planning it, then Google have shown them the way.

  6. Anonymous Blowhard

    If you like this

    For those considering this device, you might want to wait for the new "NSA Home Router" (available as "GCHQ Home Hub" in the UK).

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: If you like this

      Can we not have the GCHQ Doughnut home router? The shape is both nice looking, and will remind us of how lovely their building is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you like this

        Can we not have the GCHQ Doughnut home router? The shape is both nice looking, and will remind us of how lovely their building is.

        Hmm, donuts...

        :)

  7. AMBxx Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    All these downvotes?

    Looks like the Google supporters are out in force this morning! Rather than more downvotes, why can't someone say why they think this could possibly be a good idea?

    Paris because even she wouldn't let Google get this close

    1. fandom Silver badge

      Re: All these downvotes?

      Downvoted for whining about downvotes.

      How pathetic is that?

      1. elDog Silver badge

        Re: All these downvotes?

        Somebody stepped in doo-doo. Not me, I don't want no down votes! (suckers)

        1. x 7 Silver badge

          Re: All these downvotes?

          have a down vote for saying it

  8. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
    Stop

    Yeah, yeah...

    ... evil Google is going to slurp every bit it can. Seems this, from Wired, might make some pause before jumping on with the cleats. Then again, probably not.

    The company that already knows your location, your email, your search history, now sniffing around everything you connect to the internet? Yikes. Not to mention, there’s the fact that it would be all too easy for Google to make the OnHub better for Google services than others, in the hopes that maybe you find yourself going to YouTube and not Netflix.

    Wuellner promises, proudly, that none of this is happening. “We’re actually really proud of the work we’ve done around making sure OnHub is a trustworthy and secure member of your family,” he says. “We’ve drawn a very strong, hard and fast line around inspecting any information or websites about the content you’re looking at in your home.” There are settings in the app, too, that users can toggle on and off to determine what data is being shared. [Pushing the limits of Fair Use here.

    Link: http://www.wired.com/2015/08/google-onhub-wi-fi-router/?mbid=nl_81815

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah, yeah...

      Two points on that quote:

      1. A router is a device which should have one, and only one, function. It is expendable. It is NOT a member of the family.

      2. We’ve drawn a very strong, hard and fast line around inspecting any information or websites about the content you’re looking at in your home - that means absolutely nothing. Is the line a barrier to inspection, or does it define who can inspect and why?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, yeah...

        2. It means they don't do it currently and that may change with the next EULA and update.

  9. jb99

    It appears to have ONE ethernet port. Well that's not going to make a very good router then is it? However it does have a "Trusted Platform Module" so that's ok.

    What a crappy pointless device.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a wireless router, not a wired router. If you need more physical ports you can easily add as many as you want with a switch.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        "If you need more physical ports you can easily add as many as you want with a switch."

        Oh, goody! So where do I plug it in? Assuming the one port is for the WAN cable?

        1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

          Obtuse much ;-)? How about WAN - > Switch - > Router?

        2. Blane Bramble
          FAIL

          @DropBear

          Oh, goody! So where do I plug it in? Assuming the one port is for the WAN cable?

          You could read the actual specs and discover it has 1xWAN Ethernet and 1xLAN Ethernet.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Dropbear

          You plug the switch into the LAN port, you plug the router into the WAN port, it ain't difficult.

          1. DropBear Silver badge
            WTF?

            @All_Of_The_Above re:switch-before-router - so the incoming WAN cable will now automagically do NAT and/or DHCP et. al. for everything else I plug into that switch, or does everyone get multiple routable IPs from their ISP except me...?

            @ Blane Bramble: ah well, serves me right reacting blindly like that to the comment noting there's only one RJ45...

    2. Naselus Silver badge

      "It appears to have ONE ethernet port."

      I know, right? And no parallel ports or serial connectors! How the hell am I meant to attach my dot matrix printer to this heap of junk?

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Yeah, well.. Some of us have large networks at home. Not just a wireless.

        I have maxed out my ADSL modem/router with it's pitiful 4 ethernet ports, one of which goes to a separate switch to provide more ethernet ports. One such ethernet cable goes to a second wifi access point. I used to have a third wifi access point before it broke.

        You really don't want to clog up the wireless spectrum too much with all that streaming going on. Hence all the wired stuff.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    I'm inpressed with this revolution.

    "Google's even banished blinking lights [Heresy! - Ed.] and instead equipped the device with a glowing ring that changes hue to report its status."

    So like the glowing bar on BT's home hub then?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Or like the ring on the XBox.

      I wonder if that is foreshadowing ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm inpressed with this revolution.

      I'm sure that for all of the curry-eaters amongst us, a glowing ring is nothing new.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I'm inpressed with this revolution.

        My ring glows red when downloading...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. G R Goslin

      Re: I'm inpressed with this revolution.

      Or like the glowing ring on the Transporter

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't believe the conspiracy

    Why compromise the router when they already know all about you centrally. Too likely to break and be revealed and is vulnerable to a great deal of effort to tear down and discredit it already.

    I would be more concerned about the firmware update being pwned by a third party actor, via poor SSL certificate maintenance, or routing DNS or IP traffic to a compromised host.

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: I don't believe the conspiracy

      Google don't need to slurp all your data with this, they just want to intercept all those 404 responses and replace them with suggestions from Google's advertisers; similar functionality is already implemented in some routers from ISPs.

      So if you can't find what you want, Google will suggest something based on your original query; the revenue from this will pay for the updates to the router software.

      If you're ok with this, then it's no worse than other products already foisted on people by ISPs like BT.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't believe the conspiracy

      No, there isn't a conspiracy - it's all out in the open and everyone seems to be playing the same game.

      Why compromise the router when they already know all about you centrally

      They know something about me centrally, I'm sure, but it isn't that meaningful or useful compared to what they could know if I fully embraced Google.

      With this thing Google would have the same level of access to my internet traffic as my ISP has (even more, actually, since it gets in before the ISP sees what's going out). While I accept that my ISP can see all my traffic, it's primary function is to shift that traffic where it's supposed to go and not to monetize it. Google's primary aim is to make money out of aggregating and selling information : do you really think they're going to resist the urge to do something with it?

      I don't, so no, not never.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't believe the conspiracy

        You know, I would actually trust Google more than my ISP. Your ISP would sell your data in an instant to make a quick buck whereas Google don't sell your data.

        Your ISP would probably think nothing about using Phorm style technology to intercept your stream and put it's own adverts in there.

        Google, at least, have a reasonable grasp of security and provide updates. The router I got from my ISP never had any firmware updates despite known security holes.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I don't believe the conspiracy

          "Google don't sell your data"

          Ehhh?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC - " I would actually trust Google more than my ISP"

          Depends on your ISP, I suppose.

          I'm sure all ISPs would sell my data in an instant if they thought they could get away with it, but as far as I can tell they aren't currently. Phorm caused a lot of fuss and I think my ISP would think carefully about breaching the fundamental basis of its arrangements with its customers (who, bear in mind, also include businesses and government organisations).

          It would be naive of me to assume that my ISP won't ever play this game, but my point is that I absolutely know that Google is playing it now.

          Security - never used an ISP router so I'm a bit better off than some. Google may understand and implement security better than ISPs, but that really just means ensuring only they can get at the data.

          So I do what I can to say 'fuck you' to the data gatherers, and that includes putting things as much in my control as possible. Convenience isn't an issue.

        3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: Google don't sell your data

          In what universe ?

          Google is an ad company.

          You obviously have no idea what that means.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Google don't sell your data

            "Google don't sell your data"

            You obviously have no idea what that means.

            Otherwise show me where I can purchase the data for "Pascal Monett" from Google. There's plenty of sites online that will allow me to buy a person's data (192.com, marketing lists, in the UK electoral role data) but I have never seen that data available for sale by Google, even though we have a very sizeable ad spend with them.

    3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: I don't believe the conspiracy

      The key here is the word "centrally".

      Also, it's not "compromising" the router, just augmenting it.

      The goal, for Google, is to remove any destinction between "central" and perifery. From now on we are all in Google's domain, whether we want to or not. (That's the idea anyway.)

      So you don't use Chrome? Not a problem any more.

      So you only run Linux? Not a problem.

      And so on.

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