Google has patched the Home Mini to stop some accidental snooping

Some Google Home Minis have been found to activate at random times and transmit the audio to Google's servers.                  Chris Monroe  CNET

Some Google Home Minis have been found to activate at random times and transmit the audio to Google's servers. Chris Monroe CNET

Apparently, some Home Mini devices register phantom touches, which leads to the speaker recording every sound around it.

Google's recently announced Google Home Mini smart speaker has gotten into trouble before even going on sale. "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".

The issue was discovered by Artem Russakovskii, who received a review unit of the £49 speaker from Google. Some were listening to everything, recording it all, and transmitting the audio back to Google's servers.

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As an added precaution, all activity and queries created by long-pressing the touch sensor on Home Mini speakers between October 4-7 have been wiped and will no longer show up on owner's My Activity Page.

Intelligent assistant platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant could be the next great frontier in computer interface, but there are bound to be some bumps along the way before we reach a Star Trek-style future. However, it seems that the Google's AI algorithms on the Home Mini devices have gone rogue. It concluded that there was an issue with the touch control mechanism, and very quickly issued a software update to fix the problem.

After reporting the issue, it appears Google is right onto it, diagnosing a faulty touch panel on the device - the Google Home Mini can be activated by either touch or hot (Ok or Hey Google) words.

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If you're unsure why a self-activating Home Mini meant Russakovskii's bathroom activity was recorded: everything you say to Google Assistant across the company's devices is recorded and stored in Google's servers, unless you explicitly disable it in My Activity controls. We've reached out to Google for more information on which devices are affected and how this whole thing went down and we'll be following this story as it develops.

The Google Home Mini is a small puck-shaped speaker that lets you interact with Google Assistant.

The issue prevailed over the few initial units of Google Home Mini, including the ones that were distributed as review units. If users don't want to bother with extending a greeting to a machine, they can also just press a button on top of the Mini and then voice the command or question. The company also says it "removed any activity/queries that were created by long-pressing the top of a Google Home Mini between October 4 and October 7, when the software update was rolled out".

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