Google updates Home Mini to address privacy bug


Some Google Home Minis have been found to activate at random times and transmit the audio to Google’s servers.


Chris Monroe/CNET

The Google Home Mini listens — maybe too closely.

The smaller version of Google’s Assistant-equipped smart speaker, unveiled earlier this month, apparently suffers from a bug that caused some units to record sounds at random times and transmit the audio to Google’s servers. Google said Tuesday it issued a software update on Saturday to address the issue.

The Google Home Mini offers the same functionality as the original Google Home, allowing you to use the voice command “OK, Google” to begin interacting with the device. It can also be activated nonverbally with a long press on the top of the device.

The problem came to light when Artem Russakvoskii, founder of Android Police, found that his review unit was waking up “thousands of times a day” to send recordings to Google after registering “phantom” touches on the top of the device. The software update fixes the problem by disabling the unit’s touch activation feature.

“We have learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Minis that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly,” Google said in a statement. “We rolled out an update on Oct. 7 to mitigate the issue. If you’re still having issues, please feel free to contact Google Support at 1-855-971-9121 to get a replacement Google Home Mini.”

The Google Home Mini offers the same functionality as the original, allowing you to talk to Google Assistant to stream music, control your smart home, check your calendar and search the internet.

The Home will be available in coral, chalk and charcoal colors, and you can preorder it today for $49 or £49. You won’t have to wait long, as it’ll be in stores by Oct. 19.

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