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renegadebusdallas.com October 21, 2017


Google Home Mini was eavesdropping on consumers

12 October 2017, 01:00 | Yvette Williams

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

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Russakovskii's Home Mini review unit was recording everything, and it all happened without his knowledge.

Google's launch event last week created quite the buzz and one of the new products that people are excited to try include the Google Home Mini. For example, in the United States, Google Home Mini costs $49 and ships by October 18.

To Google's credit it has scrambled the engineering jets to detect the issue and find a solution.

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.

A bug effectively turned the Google Home Mini into a spying device.

Google responded to the "phantom" touch issue quickly, totally removing "long-press to talk" functionality from all active Home Mini devices.

Intelligent assistant platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant could be the next great frontier in computer interface, but there are bound to be some bumps along the way before we reach a Star Trek-style future. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue".

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If you're still having issues, Google says to contact Google Home Support at 1-855-971-9121 to get a replacement Google Home Mini.

As Russakovskii noted in the report, that recorded data is sent to Google by default in order to improve accuracy.

Upon reporting the issue to Google, the company discovered the speaker's touch control sensor was malfunctioning.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the software issue, saying it stems from the touchpad's activation button.

It turns out that some Google Home Minis, the smart speakers that the company released in early October, were nearly continuously recording audio from users' homes.

Russakovskii has posted a video on YouTube showing the Home Mini activating and recording when it detects nearly any sound. However, there's also a touch-sensitive button on the top that can initiate a voice command, and this is apparently the problem.

According to a Google Support page that went live yesterday just as this information dropped, Google claims to have fixed everything already. Pre-ordered Google Home Mini purchases aren't affected. The devices basically act as if someone is long-pressing the button to activate Assistant all the time, so they are recording nearly constantly.



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