Google is “permanently removing” a feature of the Google Home Mini that let it listen in on some users thousands times in a day. The rationale behind the move is Google giving people “complete peace of mind” when they use Google Home Mini, the company said.
Announced earlier this month alongside the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, the Google Home Mini is a compact version of the Google Home smart speaker the company launched in select markets last year. The company hasn’t started shipping the device to consumers, but it did start handing out the units to journalists so that they could review the device.
Over at Android Police, Artem Russakovskii posted a scary account after spending a few days with the device. He found that the Google Home Mini was listening to him “thousands of times” in a day even when he hadn’t used the wake words – “Hey Google,” or “Okay Google,”. Google collected the device from him and then said this week that there was a bug that caused the issue.
The bug essentially was that the touch panel on the top of the Google Home Mini, meant to activate the device when a user put down their finger on it, was activating at random times even when nobody was touching it. Furthermore, the device failed to notify users when it was randomly listening in on them.
Earlier this week, Google said it was disabling the touch panel input with a software update for those early users that were affected. Now it appears that company doesn’t see much value in bringing the functionality back again. This means, that there is only one way the Google Mini Home could be activated, and it is by voice command.