Uh Oh, Google Home Mini Defect Causes Constant Recording

Google Home Mini completely loses top touch function

To Google's credit, it seems to have scrambled the engineering jets to figure out the issue and create a fix.

Russakovskii discovered and reported the issue to Google two days later, allowing Google to inspect the device and issue a firmware update that disabled the component that caused its hyperactive recording before it reached pre-order customers.

Well, the vulnerability was found in the three touch sensors on top of the device.

It turns out that some Google Home Minis, the smart speakers that the company released in early October, were nearly continuously recording audio from users' homes.

The Google Home Mini isn't out yet, but Google is already dealing with an issue related to it.

Google unveiled the $50 Mini, which goes on sale on October 19, at its event on Wednesday. Upon further investigation of his Google account's My Activity portal, Russakovskii realised the device had transmitted thousands of audio recordings to the company without his knowledge, all of which were available for playback.

Google's response time for the issue was quite fast, working over a weekend to resolve the issue, so hopefully this will be the end of this. It's worth remembering that these devices, just like any kind of connected device, are one unforeseen security vulnerability away from a pretty gnarly privacy scenario. We are rolling out a software update today that should address the issue. The change affects every Mini it's handed out, even those that weren't malfunctioning. In Russakovskii's case, a defect with his unit caused it to record audio constantly as it tried to answer.

Ultimately, the problem appears to be a simple error, not a malicious act of spying.

But the glitch is one that Google would certainly have liked to have avoided for multiple reasons, as The Verge notes. The bug won't impact the Google Home Max, as it isn't launching until December. Smart speakers like the Mini rely on customers' trust; it's an act of faith for consumers to let Amazon or Google place a microphone in their houses. "Made By Google" events presumably don't just cover the press event; they also cover the pre-release giveaways that have been occurring at pop-up stores across the U.S. and Canada. Back in 2010, Google admitted its Google Maps Street View cars had been sucking up e-mails and passwords from unencrypted WiFi networks as the cars mapped neighborhoods around the country and world.

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