Bug Allowed Google Home Mini Speakers to Record Everything


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The issue was discovered by Artem Russakovskii, who received a review unit of the £49 speaker from Google. Ars Technica reported their Home Mini's touch panel functionality was disabled by the patch, but it had "never went insane and started recording at random".

But while watching TV within earshot of the Home Mini it began to speak every few seconds, attempting to reply to what it thought were instructions given by a person nearby.

On Friday afternoon, he went on to contact Google about the matter, and much to his surprise, not only did Google answer the email, but they also sent a team over to pick up the device and examine it. So, Russakovskii visited Google's My Activity portal on the web and made a startling discovery. The Home Mini will now only wake when it hears the wake word. The Mini Home was taken away and swapped for two fresh ones.

The issue was to do with the Mini's touch-sensitive body.

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So now, users have to say the wake word to activate the smart speaker; a simple touch will no longer activate it. Google has achieved this by adjusting the device's software.

Normally, when the Google Assistant - which gives the Home Mini its smart credentials - is activated it records what's being said and fires that data to a Google cloud server to process it, and then apply levels of machine learning to make sense of what a user is asking the Home Mini to do.

Google responded to the "phantom" touch issue quickly, totally removing "long-press to talk" functionality from all active Home Mini devices. "We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue". This can be switched off here, but Google says doing so will negatively impact its understanding of what you say.

The recently announced Google Home Mini is basically like the Google Home, except smaller.

Preventing "long-press to talk" on all Mini devices is a short-term solution, but it seems to have come swiftly from Google. However the concept of the device is similar in which users will be able to command it to do certain tasks by saying, "OK Google".