Google is "permanently removing" a feature of the Google Home Mini that let it listen in on some users thousands times in a day. A reviewer recently discovered that the gadget was secretly recording all his conversations.
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. The company said that a software update will disable the switch and that all the units that have been preordered will have a fix in place.
Now, that change will be permanent.
While it is commendable that Google carried out this patch so promptly and was open about it, it could also be due to the fact a leading blogger exposed the issue.
Russakovskii first began to notice something was wrong after lights atop the device started blinking and Google Assistant continuously repeated that it did not understand, even though nothing had been said.
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"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", the company spokesperson said.
"Say "Ok Google" or "Hey Google" instead of pressing and holding the top of Mini to start a request".
Originally, you could also use the touch panel to control music, alarms, and timers, but this functionality has been ditched too. It's available on the side of the product.
Because the Google Home Mini ($49) doesn't officially launch until next week, no paying customers have been impacted.
Reportedly, only people who received the device before the release date were affected by the glitch. All clips that the device recorded are gone now. The tech giant Microsoft blamed Google of invading into users' privacy by reading every email for profit.
Is Google's choice to disable the touch functionality of the Home Mini enough to convince you that it's taking your privacy seriously? Doing so will, however, affect the accuracy of the device's voice recognition. It is still not clear why this is so. The Mini's left and right buttons will continue to work for adjusting the volume. No one knows as orders haven't shipped yet.