Google Home Mini Software Update Fixes Auto Recording Bug

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

Google's online account security and privacy tools include an activity timeline that can be filtered to specific products and services, and Android Police confirmed that the Home Mini was indeed uploading thousands of audio snippets to Google's servers as if they were user commands.

Smart speakers like the Google Home Mini are created to only listen for a specific wake word - in this case it's "Hey Google" or "Ok Google". For example, Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii discovered a hardware defect in the upcoming Google Home Mini that caused the device to record nearly all nearby audio and upload it directly to Google.

To patch the problem, Google issued a software update that temporarily disables the button, which is located on the front of its new smart speaker devices.

He found that, due to what Google has called "phantom touches", the Home Mini was in a constant state of anticipation, listening for and awaiting verbal instructions.

The worry with smart home speakers is that they have the built-in ability to record everything you say and sending that data to the company that makes them or to hackers that obtained access to such devices. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue".

Mr Russakovskii wrote that the update seemed to work by turning off the touch panel functionality in its entirety.

When the new Google Home Mini was announced recently, Google gave the device out to a number of people to test out.


As well as documenting his finding, Russakovskii reported the issue to Google - and the company was quick to respond and investigate. Then, like a twist in an episode of Black Mirror, Russakovskii discovered on his Google activity history that the Mini had been recording thousands of times per day without any direction or audible announcement. It assumed that the user is holding the top of the device to ask a question, and hence it randomly activate and recorded everything going around.

We'll bet Google is rushing to fix the issue before the device starts shipping on October 19th.

Do you have a Google Home Mini?

Again, Google says they fixed the issue, which is good assuming you believe them.

In the meantime, Google allows users to deactivate any existing Google devices from saving audio recordings via its settings page. The bug won't impact the Google Home Max, as it isn't launching until December.

Russakovskii has posted a video on YouTube showing the Home Mini activating and recording when it detects nearly any sound.

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