Google has patched the Home Mini to stop some accidental snooping

Google Home Mini

Those who attended the recent Google launch event were given a free Google Home Mini to take home with them.

Because the Google Home Mini ($49) doesn't officially launch until next week, no paying customers have been impacted. Google said the problem was accidental and that it has now been fixed. According to Artem Russakovskii at Android Police, the Google Home Mini he was considering was unmethodically and near continually recording sounds in his home and transferring them to Google.

The worry with smart home speakers is that they have the built-in ability to record everything you say and sending that data to the company that makes them or to hackers that obtained access to such devices. In Google Home Mini's case, users can hold their finger down at the top to access Google Assistant.

On paper, the donut-sized Google Home Mini and premium Apple HomePod-rivaling Google Home Max look pretty sweet, with early reviews consolidating at least the former's position as a very strong Echo Dot contender. Google responded by issuing a patch that disabled the touch panel's functionality.

With the Google Home Mini, the search giant was hoping to get its smart speaker into more homes than ever before.


The "issue" has been "mitigated" remarkably fast via a software update rolled out on October 7, and no pre-ordered units set to start shipping next Thursday were affected by it in the first place. His report of the "near-constant" listening and recording prompted a quick response from Google.

After a Google engineer examined his unit, the big G found out that the device's touch panel has been behaving erratically and activating the device on its own.

With Russakovskii's Mini it contemplated that somebody was holding its finger down on the top and so was unmethodically initiating and recording.

As Russakovskii explains, he'd placed the Home Mini in his bathroom but soon discovered it was waking up "thousands of times a day" and transmitting recordings to Google. The devices basically act as if someone is long-pressing the button to activate Assistant all the time, so they are recording nearly constantly. The software fix prevents the activation of the speaker with a touch, which was a feature meant to offer options for activation.

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