Google Home Mini recorded audio all the time

Google's Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything

To his horror, he saw that there were thousands of Home Mini recordings. If you've already got one, then there's a slim chance that your speaker might have been spying on you 24/7 due to a hardware issue.

As many as 4,000 Google Home Minis handed out at Made By Google press and pop-up events could have a flaw making them capture virtually all audio around them before uploading the recordings to Google servers, Android Police reported on Tuesday.

This would appear to remove a feature from the Home Mini as well as stop units affected by the problem from being accidental home snoopers.

Unfortunately, a major and deeply unsettling issue impacted a "small number of Google Home Mini devices" given away at last week's Made by Google event, organized in honor of the company's two new smart home products, as well as the Pixel 2 and 2 XL phones, and the Pixelbook. We are rolling out a software update today that should address the issue. Google Glass was notoriously badly received mainly for the on-board camera, and the Google Home (and Mini) come with mute switches for the mic built-in. The Home Mini will now only wake when it hears the wake word. In the meantime, as it turns out, the Mini was behaving very differently from all the other Homes and Echos in my home - it was waking up thousands of times a day, recording, then sending those recordings to Google. "Made By Google" events presumably don't just cover the press event; they also cover the pre-release giveaways that have been occurring at pop-up stores across the USA and Canada.

Google identified the problem and revealed that there was a problem with the touch panel at the top which can be used to activate the Assistant by long-pressing it. Russakovskii's Home Mini review unit was recording everything, and it all happened without his knowledge.

It's not clear yet what Google's permanent fix for the long press bug will be. This change is also reflected in a separate support note describing the Home Mini's control functions, which says the long press is "temporarily disabled". Google responded by issuing a patch that disabled the touch panel's functionality. Presumably, Google has warehouses full of units that it can test, debug, adjust, and maybe even delay.

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