Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
IT | By Lester Massey

Google disables Home Mini's top touch function after a privacy fiasco

Google disables Home Mini's top touch function after a privacy fiasco

Google is "permanently removing" a feature of the Google Home Mini that let it listen in on some users thousands times in a day.

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.

Thankfully Google resolved this issue within 3 hours of Artem reporting it by sending out a software patch that completely disabled the button.

According to Tech Crunch, those who received the Home Mini at the recent Made By Google events, were the ones affected by the bug.

The issue, says Google, was that the button on top of the device was faulty and would sometimes activate on its own. But after its latest decision, the two side touch points, which are used to increase or decrease volume will remain functional, but the top touch point, which was supposed to trigger Google Assistant as well as control music, alarms, and timers, will stop working.

Google is permanently disabling a feature on the forthcoming Google Home Mini smart speaker, after a reviewer discovered that it was surreptitiously recording his conversations without his knowledge or consent.

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

Either way, we must remember that every Google Home device will still be constantly "listening" in order to pick up on your "Ok Google" and "Hey Google" commands - the difference is that the listening should, as always, be kept local until an actual request is given after the fact.

Earlier this week, Google said it was disabling the touch panel input with a software update for those early users that were affected. The volume rockers will work for adjusting the volume. As Google is gearing up to start shipping the Home Mini, glitches like this are not good news at all. 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 apparently got one of the defective devices.

Just like any other Internet connected device, the Home Mini is also capable of violating privacy.

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