Pre-release Google Home Mini goes rogue, starts recording 24/7


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.

A major flaw has been detected in the newly-unveiled Google Home Mini speaker that allows it to secretly record conversations without users knowing.

Introduced just last week, the Google Home Mini is available to preorder at the moment, and it won't ship sooner than October 19th.

Russakovskii contacted Google PR, which immediately began investigating the issue. A prominent Google user, Android Police's Artem Russakovskii, recently discovered his Google Home Mini was waking up "thousands of times a day", recording sound, and sending that data back to Google. Russakovskii's unit was apparently registering touches at random, so it would randomly start recording audio of his home and storing it on Google's servers. Now users can only activate Google Assistant using hotwords.

"We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue, before Google Home Mini is shipped to anyone in the United Kingdom".

As we mentioned earlier, Google was quick to take up the matter and pushed an update to fix the issue.

Meanwhile, it appears the new larger-sized Google Home Max smart speaker ($399) doesn't have the bug. The Home Mini costs a mere $50, though, and includes nearly all the features of the larger Home.

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If you're unsure why a self-activating Home Mini meant Russakovskii's bathroom activity was recorded: everything you say to Google Assistant across the company's devices is recorded and stored in Google's servers, unless you explicitly disable it in My Activity controls.

It looks like the problem has something to do with the touch panel on the device.

As a leader in search and keeper of many pieces of personal information Google is ultra-conscious of any perceived privacy incursions from their products.

"We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly", the Google spokesperson said.

It's not clear yet what Google's permanent fix for the long press bug will be.

The issue prevailed over the few initial units of Google Home Mini, including the ones that were distributed as review units.