Google Home Mini Turns Into A 24/7 Spy On One Tech Reporter

Google Home Mini Turns Into A 24/7 Spy On One Tech Reporter
Image Source: Google (screenshot)

Google Home Mini gave one early tester a shock (not literally) when he found that the gadget was recording every bit of sound in the house before transmitting it to Google. The search giant acknowledged the issue, and issued a patch to address the glitch, which according to the company, could be because of a faulty touch sensor at the top.

According to Artem Russakovskii at Android Police, after he got the speaker to his home, he decided to get it installed in the bathroom. Something creepy happened two days later, when Russakovskii noticed that the device is getting activated repeatedly and recording randomly.

“… the Mini was behaving very differently from all the other Homes and Echos in my home – it was waking up thousands of times a day, recording, then sending those recordings to Google,” said Russakovskii.

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According to Google engineers, the Home Mini in question had a defective touch panel, and was recording the “phantom” touch and events. Google’s Home Mini can be activated by either saying the magical words “OK Google” or long press on the top. Since, Russakovskii touched the panel randomly instead of saying “OK Google,” the defective touch panel started recording the events.

Russakovskii’s Home Mini was one of the many test units that Google handed away at the press event last week. For now, it is not clear if all of the 4,000 test mini speakers that Google gave away have the same bug. Ars Technica reported that Google’s patch had disabled the touch panel of their test unit even though the mini speaker did not act “crazy.”

Just like any other Internet connected device, the Home Mini is also capable of violating privacy. As Google is gearing up to start shipping the Home Mini, glitches like this are not good news at all. However, customers who have been awaiting the gadget might well overlook the issue, considering how well and quick Google handled the problem, suggesting it was only a technical glitch and not a pre-meditated feature in the speaker.

“We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly. We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue,” Google said in a statement.

For now, no one else has reported any such issue in the device, and the reviews coming in are also encouraging. According to Wired, Google has perfectly pitched the product, emphasizing the device’s smart features over its functionality as a speaker. Google Home Mini does exactly what it is built for, not taking too much space in the house, and still working just the way it should, notes Wired.

Google Home Mini, which is pitched against Amazon Echo Dot, carries a price tag of $49. Google’s gadget could be a perfect start for someone who wants to know what smart speakers actually do. Google has introduced some cool features in its newest smart home devices – Google Home Mini and Max. Among all the features, there are a few that showcase the progression of the product line, which is now in its second year. One such feature is “Announcement,” where a user can broadcast the message to every Home device in the house, provided the user has an Android phone with Google assistant.

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