Science

Google Home Mini flaw left smart speaker recording everything

Google Home Mini flaw left smart speaker recording everything

If you've already got one, then there's a slim chance that your speaker might have been spying on you 24/7 due to a hardware issue.

That's because some sort of a touch control mechanism flaw made the Google Home Mini device in the possession of Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii record every nearby sound without its owner's approval. AndroidPolice discovered that the speaker managed at some point to take over a Spotify stream that was playing in a specific room and switch it to another room without being told to do so.

Google has now also posted a help article about the issue, claiming that early review units are the only affected ones, assuring customers that preordered units at retail won't encounter a similar problem.

Unfortunately, a major and deeply unsettling issue impacted a "small number of Google Home Mini devices" given away at last week's Made by Google event, organized in honor of the company's two new smart home products, as well as the Pixel 2 and 2 XL phones, and the Pixelbook. Google, on its part, acknowledged the bug responsively and issued a software update to address the issue.

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"The Mini was behaving very differently from all the other Homes and Echos in my home - it was waking up thousands of times a day, recording, then sending those recordings to Google", said Russakovskii.

Russakovskii has posted a video on YouTube showing the Home Mini activating and recording when it detects nearly any sound. They've also, according to their support page, removed data from the My Activity portal from between the 4th to 7th of October for the Home Mini.

A reviewer noticed something problematic about his Google Home Mini, something it wasn't supposed to be doing at all. Not only because the speaker recorded everything it could hear, but also because this incident indicates that Google's hardware isn't flawless, no matter what the company told us during last week's press event.

Russakovskii seems happy with Google's response. He noticed that his Home Mini would flash its lights even if he doesn't activate it by saying "OK, Google" or by giving the touch panel a long press. He says the company replied to his initial e-mail within 10 minutes and issued a band-aid patch the day after his report.


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