Google Home Mini fault left smart speakers always recording

Vjeran Pavic  The Verge

Vjeran Pavic The Verge

Since the company is releasing the speaker in a few days, it took Google less than three hours to scoop up the rogue speaker from his home. The company was quick to respond to the issue and has already deployed an update to stop the vulnerability.

Russakovskii swapped the device with Google, whose engineers determined that the device was registering "phantom" touches.

Normally, the Google Home Mini would sit nonchalantly wherever you place it and ignore you until it hears it's wakeup command that means a request is coming. After these commands, the microphone on the device records what comes after and then transmits the information to the cloud for answering your queries.

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(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).

On paper, the donut-sized Google Home Mini and premium Apple HomePod-rivaling Google Home Max look pretty sweet, with early reviews consolidating at least the former's position as a very strong Echo Dot contender. The device thought that someone was holding down the top part indefinitely, so it was active all the while and recording everything! It did blink the lights when recording the sounds, but no audible tone.

Google identified the problem and revealed that there was a problem with the touch panel at the top which can be used to activate the Assistant by long-pressing it. It will only respond to the trigger words now. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue". "If you're still having issues, please feel free to contact Google Support at 1-855-971-9121 to get a replacement Google Home Mini".

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The Home Mini, a miniature version of Google Home, the company's smart voice assistant, will come out on 19 October, costing £49.

Google announced a bunch of new hardware at its #MadeByGoogle event last week.

Even so, this is certainly a bad PR problem for Google, especially when lots of people are already paranoid about microphones and speakers eavesdropping on their owners without their knowledge. And issues like these trigger the notion further.

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