Google Home Mini Software Update Fixes Auto Recording Bug

Some Google Home Minis have been found to activate at random times and transmit the audio to Google's servers.                  Chris Monroe  CNET

A major flaw has been detected in the newly-unveiled Google Home Mini speaker that allows it to secretly record conversations without users knowing.

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. The company was quick to respond to the issue and has already deployed an update to stop the vulnerability. Upon further investigation of his Google account's My Activity portal, Russakovskii realized the device had transmitted thousands of audio recordings to the company without his knowledge, all of which were available for playback. Google is taking no risks with this defect-all Google Home Minis will have a day-one software update that disables the touch gesture to activate Assistant. For Amazon, it's "Alexa", for the Home Mini it's "Hey, Google". Also, users can hit the button on the top and ask any question. Apparently, some Home Mini devices register phantom touches, which leads to the speaker recording every sound around it.

Home assistants that connect to the internet to answer inquiries and parse voice commands are at risk, just like anything else online, of being compromised or being misused by their creators.

Russakovskii has posted a video on YouTube showing the Home Mini activating and recording when it detects nearly any sound. The good news is that the lights turned on to indicate it was listening, but the bad news is that it didn't make an audible tone, so it took a trip through the Home's search history to discover the error. We are rolling out a software update today that should address the issue. Google has changed the software so an uncomplicated touch won't initiate the Assistant you have utter the wake word instead. It will only respond to the trigger words now.




In a statement, Google said: "We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly".

Google is still working on a permanent fix for affected units, as well as the origin of the touchpad issue. So if you own a Home Mini and it wasn't acquired from such an event, you don't need to worry.

The issue prevailed over the few initial units of Google Home Mini, including the ones that were distributed as review units.

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