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Google to disable Home Mini top touch functionality after 24/7 recording issue

12 October 2017

"We take user privacy and product quality concerns very seriously", a Google spokesperson said in a statement today.

Google's initial fix was to disable that particular gesture on all Home Minis, despite claiming that only a small percentage were affected by it. Although we only received a few reports of this issue, we want people to have complete peace of mind while using Google Home Mini.

While it's certainly conceivable that Google would be able to redesign the Home Mini's software to reject prolonged accidental activations, the bad optics of the situation somewhat forced its hand here.

The bug essentially was that the touch panel on the top of the Google Home Mini, meant to activate the device when a user put down their finger on it, was activating at random times even when nobody was touching it.

While the Google Home Mini retains its core function of being a voice-controlled smart speaker and home for Google Assistant, it does lock uses into only one mode of control for the device.

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While the touch point removal doesn't actually impact any real functions on the device, given it is a voice assistant and you would rather use your voice to control things, but touch points are always great as a fallback option. Some are already calling Google out for releasing a defective device, but you also can't blame Google for erring on the side of caution. According to Wired, Google has perfectly pitched the product, emphasizing the device's smart features over its functionality as a speaker. When he checked his personal activity page on Google, the site that shows users' interactions with the search giant's services and the data it collects on users, he found sound files that had been uploaded to Google's servers from the Mini without his consent.

Russakovskii's Home Mini was one of the many test units that Google handed away at the press event last week.

According to Artem Russakovskii at Android Police, after he got the speaker to his home, he made a decision to get it installed in the bathroom. The update will be completely rolled out by end of day October 15, 2017. They said that the issue stemmed from a touch control mechanism that was "behaving incorrectly".

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

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.

Google to disable Home Mini top touch functionality after 24/7 recording issue