Google Home Mini bug could make it record audio 24/7

Google's Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything

Smart speakers like Home Mini are made to respond to the hot words like "Hey Google" or "Ok Google".

Google Home Mini, the puck-like smart home device from the Alphabet-owned company, has a big problem.

"My Google Home Mini was inadvertently spying on me 24/7 due to a hardware flaw", he wrote on the site. Google added a way to activate its new speaker using a touch panel so users don't always have to talk to their gadgets.

Apparently the touch sensor fault is limited to Home Mini speakers given out at Made by Google events, or about 4,000 devices. As a result, Google has rolled out a software patch that deactivates the touch panel entirely. Upon further investigation of his Google account's My Activity portal, Russakovskii realized the device had transmitted thousands of audio recordings to the company without his knowledge, all of which were available for playback.

Google is still working on a permanent fix for affected units, as well as the origin of the touchpad issue.

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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.

Those who attended the recent Google launch event were given a free Google Home Mini to take home with them. However, the alarming part in this whole snooping episode is that the Home Mini didn't make any noise while recording the sounds.

Google has now also posted a help article about the issue, claiming that early review units are the only affected ones, assuring customers that preordered units at retail won't encounter a similar problem. Heres the kicker: the Google Home Mini has three touch-sensitive areas on it. Russakovskii's Home Mini review unit was recording everything, and it all happened without his knowledge.

On Friday afternoon, he went on to contact Google about the matter, and much to his surprise, not only did Google answer the email, but they also sent a team over to pick up the device and examine it. Pretty scary stuff, though it was clearly unintentional, defective behavior, which led to the swift deactivation of the touch control mechanism. The bug won't impact the Google Home Max, as it isn't launching until December.

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