Monday, 16 October, 2017

Fault Allowed Google Home Mini Speakers to Record Everything

Some Google Home Mini review units were listening to everything – but it's fixed Google Home Mini updated to stop it from accidentally recording everything
Theresa Hayes | 11 October, 2017, 16:18

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

Artem Russakovskii, founder of Android Police, lays it all bare on his site; explaining that he'd received the Google Home Mini as part of a press kit. When attempting to watch something on a nearby television, he noticed that the Home Mini was turning itself on several times during the show and trying to listen.

There, clear as day, were thousands of items, each with a play button and a timestamp - recordings.

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. It can be disabled, but Russakovskii's wasn't.

Google Home Mini: Why Is It Recording Everything?

Google's response time for the issue was quite fast, working over a weekend to resolve the issue, so hopefully this will be the end of this.

Preventing "long-press to talk" on all Mini devices is a short-term solution, but it seems to have come swiftly from Google.

People can also long-press the Home Mini to activate the Google Assistant manually rather than just by voice. "We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue", a rep said in a statement.

As it turns out, the touch mechanism in a small number of units were behaving incorrectly. If you're having any additional issues, please feel free to contact Google Support at 1-855-971-9121.

We'll bet Google is rushing to fix the issue before the device starts shipping on October 19th.

Normally, when the Google Assistant - which gives the Home Mini its smart credentials - is activated it records what's being said and fires that data to a Google cloud server to process it, and then apply levels of machine learning to make sense of what a user is asking the Home Mini to do.

The Google Home Mini fits most of the features of the tech giant's popular Home smart speakers into a $50, four-inch-wide package, except for the larger, $130 version's better acoustics. The software fix prevents the activation of the speaker with a touch, which was a feature meant to offer options for activation.