Google has patched the Home Mini to stop some accidental snooping


A hardware fault in a Google Home Mini review unit provided to Android Police continuously recorded all audio around it and sent it to Google's servers. And it appears that the problem is a glitch that causes affected units to think that they should be recording when they should not. Still, it may take quite a bit of time for Google to get folks concerned with their privacy to trust the Mountain View-based search giant again.

But when the home speaker is Google's new Home Mini, all sorts of red flags go up. So far so good, except - as he only discovered days later - the Mini was recording "thousands of times a day" and sending those recordings to Google.

Russakovskii then proceeded to check in on Google's My Activity portal which has a dedicated section for the Assistant. I saw thousands of items, each with a Play button and a timestamp, all attributed to the cryptically named and Assistant.

'It was waking up, recording, then sending those recordings to Google. It can be disabled, but Russakovskii's wasn't.

Google launched the Home Mini, along with a raft of new products, at an official unveiling event last week.

After contacting Google press relations with an urgent request explaining the issue, Russakovskii heard back in minutes.

Like the company's other voice-activated assistants, the Google Home Mini also responds to keywords like "OK, Google" or "Hey, Google".

"We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly. We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue".

Under normal circumstances, you can long press the touch control to speak a command.

Google was quick to address the problem, and has since issued a software update disabling the long-press gesture, until a more permanent solution can be found.

Google drove to Russakovskii's home to swap the devices, so they could study his unit and better understand the issue.

The number of devices believed to be affected by the bug is quite low - being limited to devices given out at a "Made by Google" event in the USA, the company informed Sky News, however it may still cause concern for British consumers.