Google disables Home Mini functionality to prevent random 24-7 recording

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In that light the discovery that their new and cute Google Home Mini is uploading snippets of sounds thousands of times per day was not too well received, resulting in Google permanently removing the feature which would allow you to activate listening mode with a long touch.

Google issued the following statement, "We have learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Minis that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly".

Artem Russakovskii of Android Police reported that the Google Home Mini he was reviewing was randomly and nearly constantly recording sounds in his home and transmitting them to Google. The touch feature will be permanently removed in an update that should be complete by October 15. "We've chose to permanently remove all top touch functionality on Google Home Mini". (I wouldn't be surprised if it's both; the potential for the Mini to turn into a constant surveillance device would be a huge liability.) Either way, it's not the biggest loss, but it's not great to see such a major issue come up right as a product is about to ship.

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It's not clear whether Google made a decision to cut the feature because it couldn't find a way to fix it or simply because it didn't want the issue to run and run, and become a PR nightmare.

Over at Android Police, Artem Russakovskii posted a scary account after spending a few days with the device. Furthermore, the device failed to notify users when it was randomly listening in on them.

We take user privacy and product quality concerns very seriously. You can still adjust the volume by using the touch control on the side of the device.

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Google Home Mini gave one early tester a shock (not literally) when he found that the gadget was recording every bit of sound in the house before transmitting it to Google. Doing so will, however, affect the accuracy of the device's voice recognition. It could be that later devices do not have the touch sensor flaw.

Google was quick to respond to complaints and discovered that the physical button that can be used to invoke the Assistant was registering ghost touches, thus activating the feature. The fix, though, means a feature from the Mini would no longer be available. All clips that the device recorded are gone now.

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