Google patches Home Mini to end inadvertant snooping

Google will 'permanently remove' Home Mini feature that led to constant recording

If you haven't heard the story, Russakovskii discovered the hard way how easy it is for AI-supported speakers to spy on him when the Google Home Mini he received to review for Android Police kept turning on and recording audio and sending it to Google. This voice prompt is made possible by the Google Assistant. This is one of the manual ways of triggering the Google Home Mini, similar to the Google Home. 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. Taking the issue into consideration, Google finally made a decision to remove the top panel functionality of the Home Mini, which is seen as the culprit behind the speaker's repeated recording, The Verge reported.

Hours after Russakovskii reported the uninitiated audio recording by his Home Mini, a Google representative collected the device to be examined.

Update: Google has taken the somewhat controversial step of permanently removing the "tap to talk" feature of the Google Home Mini to avoid the bug.

Google launched the Home Mini on October and expects the first pre-order devices to ship by October 18. Furthermore, the device failed to notify users when it was randomly listening in on them. Because his rooms are already laden with other Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers, he chose to plonk the Home Mini in his bathroom. The touch-sensitive sides for changing the volume of the Home Mini will remain active.


"As before, the best way to control and activate Google Home Mini is through voice, by saying 'Ok Google" or 'Hey Google, ' which is already how most people engage with our Google Home products. For now, the speaker can only be activated through voice command. This raised a serious privacy concern and Google acknowledged earlier this week that the bug affected a small number of units.

What was supposed to be a temporary workaround that was doled out to Google Home Mini smart speaker owners has now turned permanent, effectively disabling a key feature of the device. That means the only way to wake the Assistant is by saying OK Google or Hey Google.

Originally, you could also use the touch panel to control music, alarms, and timers, but this functionality has been ditched too.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jessica Chambers Murder Case 1st Days Trial
Oct 13, 2017 - 01:16
Both people were at the same location on the day of Chambers' death, and Tellis admitted to having sex with her in her auto . Lisa said she believes "somebody was with" her daughter during their phone conversation, according to local TV station WMC .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top State Officials Urge Residents to Get Flu Shot
Oct 13, 2017 - 01:12
It also helps to prevent spreading flu to your family and other people. "They think it's diarrhea and upset stomach", he said. Some people avoid the flu shot because they believe they might catch the virus from the vaccine, but that's just a myth.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top 5 major Hollywood studios join forces for new digital service 'Movies Anywhere'
Oct 13, 2017 - 01:11
Movies Anywhere will include movies from major studios like 20 Century Fox , Universal, Sony Pictures, and Warner Brothers. Movies Anywhere aims to do what UltraViolet couldn't: provide a single destination for titles purchased nearly anywhere.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Arby's rolling out popular venison sandwich nationwide this fall
Oct 13, 2017 - 01:07
Since the venison sandwich was such a success Arby's will be bringing the sandwich to all of its locations nationwide this year. The venison burgers will be made with deer steak, juniper berry steak sauce and crispy onions on a star-top bun.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Mark Ruffalo teases Hulk is focus of new MCU films
Oct 13, 2017 - 01:06
Perhaps we'll see Thor get his new weapon by the end of Thor : Ragnarok , but it's also possible we'll be seeing him receive it in Infinity War .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Russian Federation protests against removal of flags from diplomatic properties in US
Oct 13, 2017 - 01:05
Washington ordered the shutdown of the Russian diplomatic missions after the Kremlin demanded that the United States slash staff numbers at its missions in Russia.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Watch a House-Sized Asteroid Pass Close to Earth Tonight (October 11/12)
Oct 13, 2017 - 01:04
As its name suggests, 2012 TC4 was discovered in 2012, by the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System in Hawaii. An asteroid the size of a house is about to fly really close to the Earth today.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Facebook launches Oculus Go: A new low cost wireless VR headset
Oct 13, 2017 - 01:03
The Go also comes with new lenses that provide wider field of view with lesser glare. Oculus Go doesn't use a PC, nor does it require the use of a smartphone .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Linkin Park releases 'Carpool Karaoke' episode with Chester Bennington
Oct 13, 2017 - 01:01
Series creator James Corden previously said that the late singer's family would decide if the episode would air. A previously unseen " Carpool Karaoke " episode will eventually be a memory of a time when he tried so hard.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kobe Steel president admits possibility of more irregularities
Oct 13, 2017 - 00:58
Since then the embattled firm has seen its shares plunge almost 40% - wiping more than $1.5bn (£1.1bn) off its market value. And in 2006, Kobe Steel said its Kakogawa steelworks in western Japan falsified soot emissions data over five years.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Defence data hack puts cyber security in the spotlight
Oct 13, 2017 - 00:56
The company had used default logins and passwords such as "admin" and "guest" and had only one person working on IT. The report was published this week by Australia's Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Is Razer launching its own phone?
Oct 13, 2017 - 00:55
Razer says it'll be the company's biggest unveiling ever, so we'll let you know more about the device when it launches next month. Is Razer making a phone? It's likely the company killed off support for the Robin to be able to concentrate on its own device.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Arsene Wenger Prematurely Congratulates George Weah on Being Elected President
Oct 13, 2017 - 00:53
The Arsenal's manager was Weah's manager in the 90s when the Liberian was playing in the Ligue 1 with AS Monaco. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female president, will step aside after two six-year terms in office.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top After Plastic Surgery In South Korea, Chinese Women Detained At Airport
Oct 13, 2017 - 00:52
Almost half of women in Seoul under the age of 30 are estimated to use plastic surgeries to enhance their facial features. More than 500,000 Chinese residents a year are said to make trips overseas for medical tourism.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top (JPM) Earnings: 12 Things to Know About Q3
Oct 13, 2017 - 00:49
Company insiders own 0.88% of the company's stock. (NYSE: JPM ) for 76,700 shares. (NYSE: JPM ) for 4.16 million shares. Marshall Wace Llp, United Kingdom-based fund reported 55,017 shares. 460,731 are held by Staley Capital Advisers Inc.