But it might be harboring an alarming privacy concern. The Home Mini is a great holiday gift for anyone.
Google devices like the Home Mini typically wait for the phrase "OK Google" before beginning to record and then sending audio to Google's servers for processing. "All of this was done quietly, with only the four lights on the unit I wasn't looking at flashing on and then off".
Google told Android Police that the Home Mini's touch panel had been registering "phantom" touches, which caused it to keep activating and recording everything going on around it. A check of his Google My Activity portal showed many requests across days since he activated the review unit.
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There, clear as day, were thousands of items, each with a play button and a timestamp - recordings. Over at Android Police, Artem Russakovskii noticed something amiss about the Google Home Mini he was reviewing.
The worry with smart home speakers is that they have the built-in ability to record everything you say and sending that data to the company that makes them or to hackers that obtained access to such devices. The default wake words for Google's devices are "OK Google" or "Hey Google". How it works is that it responds to "hotwords" predefined by the user. This is also the only point where the device begins recording, and that clip will be sent to Google's cloud.
So, the Home Mini seems easy enough to use, right?
The problem was eventually discovered after some time, and props to Google for being quick on the uptake.
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Google's response time for the issue was quite fast, working over a weekend to resolve the issue, so hopefully this will be the end of this. We are rolling out a software update today that should address the issue.
The device is created to respond to your questions, but only after you say "Okay Google" or "Hey Google", or tap and hold a touch panel on it. Google said the problem was accidental and that it has now been fixed. Have you encountered the same issue?
Do you have a Google Home Mini? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!
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