The Home Mini is meant to bring the convenience of the firm's smart assistant to any room at an affordable price, but it may have been doing more than just that. This mechanism was responding to so-called "phantom touches" hundreds of times each day, then recording whatever was going on nearby and sending that to Google. To his horror, he saw that there were thousands of Home Mini recordings.
Privacy is a growing concern in an increasingly connected world and a design flaw with Google's latest smart speaker may ring alarm bells for some.
The Home Mini, Google's donut-shaped Amazon Echo Dot rival, is cute, teensy, and adorable.
Discovered by one user Artem Russakovskil and reported on Android Police, it appears that some Google Home Mini units have been recording everything round them 24/7 rather than replying to direct voice commands activated with phrase "OK Google". All this was done quietly, Russakovskii said, with the four LED lights on the unit firing on and off unbeknownst to him.
Russakovskii then proceeded to check in on Google's My Activity portal which has a dedicated section for the Assistant.
The good news is that Google is fixing the issue before the Google Home Mini ships to your door.
The video below shows the faulty Google Home Mini in action and offers you an idea of how you can easily see if the speaker is recording everything: The lights turn on to tell you the speaker is active. The default wake words for Google's devices are "OK Google" or "Hey Google".
Russakovskii swapped the device with Google, whose engineers determined that the device was registering "phantom" touches.
However the concept of the device is similar in which users will be able to command it to do certain tasks by saying, "OK Google".
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 rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue", a rep said in a statement.
Even so, this is certainly a bad PR problem for Google, especially when lots of people are already paranoid about microphones and speakers eavesdropping on their owners without their knowledge.
'The home is a special intimate place, form and size really matter, and you should never have to think about how you interact with it'.