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12 October 2017, 12:57 | Jenny Fowler
Several review units of the Home Mini started recording every sound without notifying the user
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.
The blogger had received the Mini as a party favor at Google'slaunch event for a variety of new hardware on October 4.
It turns out some Google Home Minis in the first batch have defective touch sensors on the top.
Russakovskii contacted Google PR, which immediately began investigating the issue. According to Artem Russakovskii at Android Police, the Google HomeMini he was reviewing was randomly and near-constantly recording sounds in his home and transmitting them to Google. His findings show that his GoogleHome Mini had been recording him for about a week, sending the audio back to 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. Following the report, Google has temporarily disabled the feature. The software update has now apparently stopped the touch panel from working. Since the company is releasing the speaker in a few days, it took Google less than three hours to scoop up the rogue speaker from his home.
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Unfortunately, a major and deeply unsettling issue impacted a "small number of Google Home Mini devices" given away at last week's Made by Google event, organized in honor of the company's two new smart home products, as well as the Pixel 2 and 2 XL phones, and the Pixelbook.
One of those reviewers is reporting that the Home Mini he was writing about was nearly constantly recording sounds in his home. "We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue".
Russakovskii swapped the device with Google, whose engineers determined that the device was registering "phantom" touches. The bug won't impact the Google Home Max, as it isn't launching until December. To his horror, he saw that there were thousands of Home Mini recordings. We've reached out to Google for more information on which devices are affected and how this whole thing went down and we'll be following this story as it develops. The devices basically act as if someone is long-pressing the button to activate Assistant all the time, so they are recording nearly constantly.
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