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ibusinesslines.com December 19, 2017


Google removes top touch function from Home Mini smart speaker

12 October 2017, 02:19 | Justin Tyler

TECHNOLOGYGoogle admits its new smart speaker was eavesdropping on users Email none

Google admits its new smart speaker was eavesdropping on users

Google has made a decision to "permanently remove" the feature that led to a "small number" of Home Mini units accidentally recording thousands of times a day, instead of just when a user triggers it.

It also released a software update to disable the top touch button completely, but Google has now chose to remove the touch functionality altogether. It also promised that people can have total peace of mind while using #Google Home Mini. "The update will be completely rolled out by end of day October 15, 2017", Google's statement reads. After a few days, he found that the Google Home Mini given to him was carrying out thousands of uninitiated recordings, not just when the top of the device was touched or when he said "Hey Google".

He noticed the bug because the device would flash its lights even if he hadn't issued the OK Google command.

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

Google takes product quality and privacy concerns very seriously.


It's not clear whether Google chose to cut the feature because it couldn't find a way to fix it or simply because it didn't want the issue to run and run, and become a PR nightmare.

The issue was originally discovered by Artem Russakovskii from Android Police who then reported the problem to Google. The Home Mini is designed as a miniature version of the Google Home that is tiny enough to sit anywhere in your house and can play music or make calls and other smart functions with the help of Google Assistant. You can still adjust the volume by using the touch control on the side of the device. Doing so will, however, affect the accuracy of the device's voice recognition. It turns out that Google is willing to cripple the device rather than take any risks. The company says on a support page that it also "removed any activity/queries that were created by long pressing the top of a Google Home Mini between October 4 and October 7".

Google was quick to respond to complaints and discovered that the physical button that can be used to invoke the Assistant was registering ghost touches, thus activating the feature.

The Mini is due to be available to buy from 19 October. All clips that the device recorded are gone now.



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