Google issues update to stop Home Mini from recording 24/7

Avatar By Billy Kirk | 3 years ago

Google has issued a new software update to stop their smart speaker, the Google Home Mini, from recording everything around it.

Artem Russakovskii at Android Police first discovered this bug while reviewing one of the devices on the site. He found the speaker was randomly and near-constantly recording the sounds around it and then transmitting them to Google. The tech giant soon acknowledged the problem and states they have plans to fix it.

This recording problem is the result of a failure of the touch sensor on the top of the device. Normally, smart speakers are programmed to listen for a specific wake up word. In the case of the Home Mini, that is either “Hey Google” or “Ok Google.” Once the words are said, they microphones are supposed to record what the users are saying, transmit it to the cloud, and then answer whatever they are asked. However, there are other ways to turn on the devices as well. The Mini could also be activated by holding your finger down on top of it.

That feature is what caused the one that Russakovskii reviewed to go haywire. The device thought that someone was constantly holding their finger down on the top, which made it randomly activate and record sounds.

While Google seems to have fixed this issue, they had to change the way the machine works. Now, a simple touch will no longer activate the assistant. Only the wake word will.

“We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly,” stated Google, according to The Verge. “We rolled out an 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.”

While the fix came quickly, the recording is not great news for the company. Many people are already suspicious of putting smart speakers in their homes, and this will not do anything towards easing those fears. Even so, Google states that all pre-ordered units — which are supposed to ship on October 19th — will not be affected by the bug.