Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Google to 'permanently remove' Home Mini's faulty recording feature

Google Home Mini Turns Into A 24/7 Spy On One Tech Reporter Google will 'permanently remove' Home Mini feature that led to constant recording
Theresa Hayes | 12 October, 2017, 14:22

After Tesla CEO Elon Musk expressed his concern for privacy with Google Clips, the #Google Home Mini smart speaker is also getting a feature disabled because of similar concerns.

Google confirmed to BGR in a statement that it's going to permanently disable all touch functionality on the Google Home Mini. As before, the best way to control and activate Google Home Mini is through voice, by saying "Ok Google" or "Hey Google", which is already how most people engage with our Google Home products. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue".

Google Home team acknowledged they have a pre-release problem, on the company's support page.

According to commentators, Russakovskii's Home Mini seems to be one out of "a small number" of devices that are affected by the issue. This means, that there is only one way the Google Mini Home could be activated, and it is by voice command.

It's not clear whether Google chose to cut the feature because it couldn't find a way to fix it or simply because it didn't want the issue to run and run, and become a PR nightmare.

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. Furthermore, the device failed to notify users when it was randomly listening in on them. The Home Mini is designed as a miniature version of the Google Home that is tiny enough to sit anywhere in your house and can play music or make calls and other smart functions with the help of Google Assistant. It could be that later devices do not have the touch sensor flaw.

Google removes all top-touch functionality from the Home Mini.

While it's certainly conceivable that Google would be able to redesign the Home Mini's software to reject prolonged accidental activations, the bad optics of the situation somewhat forced its hand here. The intelligent assistant feature on it could be activated two ways - by either saying "OK, Google" or by tapping the surface. It is expected they will try and push out a full fix for when the product starts shipping on October the 19.

Russakovskii reports that the device recorded him thousands of times per day without even being instructed to.