Google Home Mini updated to stop it from accidentally recording everything
12 October, 2017, 01:00 | Author: Sherri Guerrero
Russakovskii's pre-release unit, which he picked up from Google's October 4 event for the tech press, has apparently recorded "thousands of times a day" and attempted to respond to random noises. The Home Mini units gave no indication they were recording beyond silently flashing their four display lights - a notification that you'd only notice if you were looking directly at the device.
Google immediately responded, taking away his Home Mini and giving him 2 in exchange.
Google says in a support note that it's fixed an issue that caused the Home Mini's touch controls to behave incorrectly. Some were listening to everything, recording it all, and transmitting the audio back to Google's servers. The Mini has a touch-sensitive surface, and, to issue a command, you can either say "OK Google" or long press on the top. Now users can only activate Google Assistant using hotwords. The company acknowledged the problem and is issuing a software update to resolve the issue, which appears to boil down to a failure of the touch sensor on the top. Google issued a software update to patch the problem. When attempting to watch something on a nearby television, he noticed that the Home Mini was turning itself on several times during the show and trying to listen.
One of those reviewers is reporting that the Home Mini he was writing about was nearly constantly recording sounds in his home.
If you're unsure why a self-activating Home Mini meant Russakovskii's bathroom activity was recorded: everything you say to Google Assistant across the company's devices is recorded and stored in Google's servers, unless you explicitly disable it in My Activity controls.
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With Russakovskii's Mini it contemplated that somebody was holding its finger down on the top and so was unmethodically initiating and recording.
It's great to see Google hurry to fix the issue, but this is still a PR nightmare.
As explained by Google, the issue affected devices that were given out at the U.S. Made by Googlelaunch event.
However, Russakovskii's and other devices "thought" the touch panel was always on, as if someone was constantly pressing it.
The Google Home Mini sounds better and looks better than the Echo Dot - but Google needs to innovate if it wants to catch Alexa.
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