Google Home Mini Defect Caused Some Units To Record Audio 24/7


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

Those who attended the recent Google launch event were given a free Google Home Mini to take home with them. That's bad, you know, because your Google Home units shouldn't be listening to you unless you purposely activate them.

After contacting Google press relations with an urgent request explaining the issue, Russakovskii heard back in minutes. According to the emails received by Artem, Google stated that this appeared to be a hardware bug in some of the Google Home Minis. Both the Home and Home Mini respond to long touch gestures that trigger the device to listen and record audio to answer the command.

Google updated the software to disable the long press functionality, and it's working on a long-term fix. Google issued a software update to patch the problem. But that's not the case for Google's Home Mini speaker.

However, Russakovskii's and other devices "thought" the touch panel was always on, as if someone was constantly pressing it.

It turns out that some Google Home Minis, the smart speakers that the company released in early October, were nearly continuously recording audio from users' homes. So far so good, except - as he only discovered days later - the Mini was recording "thousands of times a day" and sending those recordings to Google. 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. As it turns out, the touch mechanism in a small number of units were behaving incorrectly. However, the alarming part in this whole snooping episode is that the Home Mini didn't make any noise while recording the sounds.

The issue prevailed over the few initial units of Google Home Mini, including the ones that were distributed as review units.

The "issue" has been "mitigated" remarkably fast via a software update rolled out on October 7, and no pre-ordered units set to start shipping next Thursday were affected by it in the first place.

In response, Google has disabled the malfunctioning touch activation feature for Google Assistant for all users, which caused the problematic recording.