Google Home Mini bug could make it record audio 24/7

Nichole Vega
October 12, 2017

Some were listening to everything, recording it all, and transmitting the audio back to Google's servers.

Meanwhile, it appears the new larger-sized Google Home Max smart speaker ($399) doesn't have the bug. According to Artem Russakovskii, founder of the tech blog Android Police, a glitch in his device's touch mechanism caused the Mini to randomly wake up, capture sounds, and then transmit them to Google without him knowing.

So there's a chance that Google may recall some of the affected Home Mini devices or push out further patches that enable touch activation but prevent the continuous hoovering up of data.

"My Google Home Mini was inadvertently spying on me 24/7 due to a hardware flaw", he wrote.

As an added precaution, all activity and queries created by long-pressing the touch sensor on Home Mini speakers between October 4-7 have been wiped and will no longer show up on owner's My Activity Page. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue".

Russakovskii discovered and reported the issue to Google two days later, allowing Google to inspect the device and issue a firmware update that disabled the component that caused its hyperactive recording before it reached pre-order customers.

To Google's credit, it seems to have scrambled the engineering jets to figure out the issue and create a fix.

While this in itself is a fairly minor inconvenience, it has major implications for the privacy of users and could, in theory, let Google monitor everything that is said in your home. These faulty sensors can be found on the first units of the Google Home Mini, and these were the units that were handed over to the reviewers at Google's Pixel event October 4, 2017.

(Google Home, as well as Alexa, save recordings of all commands to improve voice accuracy, both also offer the option to opt-out of this).

Because the Google Home Mini ($49) doesn't officially launch until next week, no paying customers have been impacted. If you're having any additional issues, please feel free to contact Google Support at 1-855-971-9121.

Google has fixed a problem with its new Home Mini which made the device record almost every sound it detected and sent it to Google's servers. The software fix prevents the activation of the speaker with a touch, which was a feature meant to offer options for activation. And we all remember how much Google insisted on the quality of the Home Mini's design and materials.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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