Google will 'permanently remove' Home Mini feature that led to constant recording

12 October, 2017, 12:39 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • Vjeran Pavic  The Verge

After acknowledging an issue with the touch control of its new Home Mini device, which led to constant unintentional recording of pretty much everything being said around it, Google has made a decision to completely disable the feature. Shortly after the issue was brought to Google's attention on October 7, the company created a support page, rolled out a software update, and removed all correspondence with the device initiated with the top touch between October 4 and October 7.

Google has chose to "permanently remove" the feature that led to a "small number" of Home Mini units accidentally recording thousands of times a day, instead of just when a user triggers it. In response, Google acknowledged that this bug affected a small number of units, and issued a software update that would disable that button entirely, for all users, while it explored a long-term fix. Android Police identified the error on one of its review units, and Google resolved the problem before any Home Mini units could actually ship out to customers (aside from however many it gave out at events). Google's Home Mini can be activated by either saying the magical words "OK Google" or long press on the top.

The issue appears to be with the touch-sensitive button on the top of the speaker that you can use instead of the OK Google command. The rationale behind the move is Google giving people "complete peace of mind" when they use Google Home Mini, the company said. You can still adjust the volume by using the touch control on the side of the device. Something creepy happened two days later, when Russakovskii noticed that the device is getting activated repeatedly and recording randomly.

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Announced earlier this month alongside the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, the Google Home Mini is a compact version of the Google Home smart speaker the company launched in select markets past year.

Just like any other Internet connected device, the Home Mini is also capable of violating privacy.

Is Google's choice to disable the touch functionality of the Home Mini enough to convince you that it's taking your privacy seriously? After all, there are those who may find it uncomfortable to control the speaker by talking to it in a crowded room, despite the Home Mini primarily being a voice-enabled speaker. Russakovskii apparently got one of the defective devices.

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