Microsoft: Xbox SmartGlass can be used "to spy on your kids"

Microsoft has been pushing its Xbox SmartGlass apps as ways to offer consumers a "second screen" experience between the Xbox 360 console and mobile devices running on iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. But is there more to Xbox SmartGlass than just discovering more information about Game of Thrones?

As it turns out, the answer is "Yes." The Escapist reports that during a presentation this week at the Game Developers Conference, Microsoft's Rosa Thomas said that she had discovered that Xbox SmartGlass, when connected to the Xbox 360, can also serve as a way to check up on what other people who are playing on the console are doing.

She stated:

So, interesting enough, I was at work, testing my stuff, and I'm looking and I forgot that I had actually connected to my home Xbox, and I got to see what my kids were doing at home. It's a great way to spy on your kids, I'll tell you.

The implications for this feature are that parents who have the app installed on a mobile device could see if their children are playing games that they are not supposed to be playing. Of course, the Xbox 360 already has parental controls built in that can let parents set how much time their children can play games and which games they are allowed to play, based on their ratings.

One funny side effect of this Xbox SmartGlass control is being able to remotely control video streaming services like Netflix. Thomas indicated she got a bit of a laugh by pausing her husband's video on Netflix, which made him think there was something wrong with the app.

Source: Escapist | Image via Microsoft

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Technically you don't spy on your kids, you supervise them. This article is stupid and once again tries to find something negative on the Microsoft technology stack. oh wait John Callaham should of known.

Yeah except when you start smartglass and connect to your 360 it shows on the 360 that you're connected to smartglass so your kids will know your coming. Unless you can turn that off.

Saying it can be used to spy on your kids seems like a major failure of a marketing strategy. They should probably clarify that creepy strangers won't be able to watch them before parents freak out about it.

I thought this was going to be something about being able to access the Kinect camera via XBOX SmartGlass Android app.
Would be cool to be able to connect when out somewhere to see what's going on at home.

The failure of SmartGlass is that you need to be signed in to your Xbox Live account on the console before your device will connect to it. Meaning, if your kids are using their own accounts, you don't get the notification. You can however, just check their profile. It would be nice if it automatically signed you in, or asked, when there's an Xbox detected on the network and stay connected until you disconnect. Kind of like how the physical controllers work.

Being able to connect over the Internet like now should be a fall back option. And if you want, you should be able to associate you Xbox with your account so you can configure notifications for when it's turned on, etc.

I dont think using Smartglass would make you a very good spy, you get a notification on screen informing you someone has connected to the console. would be more stealthy

So having not used this app, what can you do, just use it as a controller or view the input on th kinect camera or what?

This is a really stupid article Neowin. You can also "spy" on your kids and friends by looking at your Xbox Live friends list on the website or smartphone app. I've been "spying" on my Xbox Live friends since 2005.

n_K said,
So having not used this app, what can you do, just use it as a controller or view the input on th kinect camera or what?

Its more than a controller it has other applications like lets say you are watching a movie on the xbox, the tablet or phone can show you additional data on the scene or movie. NFS Hot Pursuit shows you a map with your position. Some other games allow one player to control some aspect of the game while someone else is playing etc.