Google Home Mini Caught Spying

Ken Copeland
October 12, 2017

After timidly challenging Amazon's constantly growing Alexa-powered Echo family with a single Google Home model previous year, Big G just expanded its Google Assistant-controlled smart speaker line to a full-on armada. Those new Google devices include the Google Home Mini and Google Home Max. The only conclusion he could reach was the Google Home Mini was listening to him even at times when he hadn't used the wake word "Hey Google", or "Okay Google". A check of his Google My Activity portal showed many requests across days since he activated the review unit.

That seems to be the rub (pardon the pun) with Russakovskii's Mini: it thought that somebody was holding its finger down on the top and so was randomly activating and recording.

Introduced just last week, the Google Home Mini is available to preorder at the moment, and it won't ship sooner than October 19th.

Google acknowledged the issue on a support page, saying, "The Google Home team is aware of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch-control mechanism to behave incorrectly. We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue, before Google Home Mini shipped to anyone in the United Kingdom", a Google spokesperson told Mashable.

This would appear to remove a feature from the Home Mini as well as stop units affected by the problem from being accidental home snoopers.

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Still, it would be best to be cautious and make sure your Home Mini isn't keeping track of everything you say 24/7.

After a Google engineer examined his unit, the big G found out that the device's touch panel has been behaving erratically and activating the device on its own. The idea is that you can say "OK Google" or "Hey Google" whenever you're near the device to begin issuing commands to smart home devices and asking questions.

'It was waking up, recording, then sending those recordings to Google. Russakovskii's pre-release unit, which he picked up from Google's October 4 event for the tech press, has apparently recorded "thousands of times a day" and attempted to respond to random noises.

After this, the idea of Google's AI going rogue starts taking concrete shape when it was known that Google got the unit collected from the user. "We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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