Google removes Home Mini's touch functionality following privacy concerns

Image Credit Droid-Life

Image Credit Droid-Life

A few owners of the new Google Home Mini have reported that their smart speaker has been listening on them 24/7 because of a hardware bug that basically triggered the "long press to activate Google Assistant" gesture on the top of the Home Mini.

It seems that the issue only affected a select number of devices, but now Google has turned off the ability to tap the top of any Google Home Mini to issue a voice command, which should be enough to stop the bug from reoccuring. We made this decision to avoid any confusion and give you complete peace of mind while using your Mini. When you tap on the top of the Home Mini it can play and pause music, while a long touch will active Google Assistant. Since, Russakovskii touched the panel randomly instead of saying "OK Google", the defective touch panel started recording the events.

"It was waking up thousands of times a day, recording, then sending those recordings to Google", he said. This is already how most people control and activate Home products. The basis for the elimination of top touch is chronicled in a post published Tuesday by Android Police reviewer Artem Russakovskii.

Google retrieved the spying Home Mini, gave the journalist two more as compensation, and discovered a fault which caused it to detect "phantom touches" nearly all of the time. Google takes product quality and privacy concerns very seriously. Updates to the device are obviously impossible, so Google simply nixed the feature.

Normally, there are two ways to interact with Google's smart speakers, including the Mini.

Because the Google Home Mini ($49) doesn't officially launch until next week, no paying customers have been impacted.

Just like any other Internet connected device, the Home Mini is also capable of violating privacy. The volume and on/off buttons on the side of the device will continue to work. When he checked his personal activity page on Google, the site that shows users' interactions with the search giant's services and the data it collects on users, he found sound files that had been uploaded to Google's servers from the Mini without his consent. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue". The company personally sent an executive to collect the device from Russakovskii.

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