The secret-recording fiasco could impact potential Google Home Mini sales.
Android Police tech blogger and founder Artem Russakovskii was the first to discover a bug in the software used by those devices. It's a good thing this issue was uncovered before the home hubs went on general sale, but does perhaps raise wider concerns around the potential for recording devices in our homes to malfunction, and capture information we may not be happy with sharing.
Google then quickly followed up its initial response by permanently disabling all top touch functionality in all Google Home Mini devices. But the Home Mini's recent recording issue, which happened toward the very beginning of the product's lifespan, is definitely a black eye for Google's smart-home efforts in general and could cause real issues for Google down the line.
Google has been forced to disable a key Google Home Mini feature following reports some units had been inadvertently eavesdropping on early adopters. Another proof that the Google Home Mini records sound without the user's prompt is Russakovskii's activity portal full of recorded audio files on the Google server.
The Home Mini smart speaker isn't even out, and Google is already putting out a major privacy-related fire. Following the event, it sent members of the press home with a review unit of the Google Home Mini, expected to launch on October 19.
Aside from Russakovskii, a "small number" of Google Home Mini owners have also reported the same 24/7 sound recording of their device.
Privacy is a growing concern in an increasingly connected world and a design flaw with Google's latest smart speaker may ring alarm bells for some. Now, you'll have to do so by saying "Hey Google" or "OK Google", which is fine.
With the top button gone, the Home Mini now has to be activated entirely by voice, which isn't really a huge limitation since it's created to be a voice assistant.
'You can still adjust the volume by using the touch control on the side of the device'. Under normal circumstances, Google Home Mini would mind its own business and pretty much ignore any surrounding chatter until it received a wake-up command, which could be given verbally or by touching the top of the speaker.