Re: I'm surprised it wasn't noticed before
Yeah. Love the downvotes.
I never worked in the actual engineering/development, but even working in a simple mom and pop corner shop Hardware store, we got talking to the sales/rep staff to big companies (or just reading old development stories). Shows, no end of times, actual hardware gets added to products, with possible future development that fails, or just plain "cut it, not enough time/cash".
So, at some point, Google changed the product/system/software. Yes, this is bad. But it's not "spying". It's a failure in their development, spec lists, advertising.
Another example would be the occasional failed Samsung (other brands no doubt do it) IOT or smart speaker launches. Loads of hardware in those things, non of it on the spec sheets, none of it worked day 1 release, half of it never activated, and the other half still buggy. The entire range got recalled.
No one is blaming Samsung for "spying" on that failed product release, because some hardware got activated/deactivated due to development "release it now, fix it later" cycles. Or accused of "spying" because they messed up their spec sheet on "oh, mic code is trash, hardware sync fails... just say it's a internet connected speaker and hope to fix it later".
Even a broken clock is right twice a day. And in this case, I would say Google was innocent, and an actual honest mistake here. The *one* time, out of all the others where they did not do it to spy on people. If we say *every* thing that happens is because of some conspiracy at Google, we would turn into crazies! While Google does a lot wrong, we still need to be realistic!