Google rushes fix after new Home Mini speaker gets caught spying

12 October, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Google Home Mini has a spying problem

Google's recently unveiled Google Home Mini speakers have landed into trouble, before even hitting the sales shelves. That's bad, you know, because your Google Home units shouldn't be listening to you unless you purposely activate them.

This would appear to remove a feature from the Home Mini as well as stop units affected by the problem from being accidental home snoopers. According to Android Police writer Artem Russakovskii, his Google Home Mini review unit had been incessantly recording everything happening in the surrounding and sharing that with Google. Google added a way to activate its new speaker using a touch panel so users don't always have to talk to their gadgets.

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On paper, the donut-sized Google Home Mini and premium Apple HomePod-rivaling Google Home Max look pretty sweet, with early reviews consolidating at least the former's position as a very strong Echo Dot contender. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue".

Now, it's important to note that Google has since become aware of the issue and released a patch to fix it.

Mr Russakovskii wrote that the update seemed to work by turning off the touch panel functionality in its entirety. To his horror, he saw that there were thousands of Home Mini recordings. 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. That is until he noticed something pretty odd: It was waking up thousands of times a day, recording, then sending those clips to Google's servers.

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As a leader in search and keeper of many pieces of personal information Google is ultra-conscious of any perceived privacy incursions from their products. The software fix prevents the activation of the speaker with a touch, which was a feature meant to offer options for activation.

Here's the statement Google issued:"We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly".

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