Wednesday October 11, 2017

Google Quietly Shuts Down Home Mini Feature That Quietly Records Everything

Google launched the $49 Home Mini last week, but it had one small flaw, recording every sound in your home 24/7 and sending it to Google servers. An Android Police writer noticed his new Home Mini he had received at the Made by Google October 4th launch event was waking up thousands of times a day, recording, and sending the recordings to Google's servers. Google's temporary fix is simple - deactivating the touch feature. It is believed that around 4,000 Home Minis have been affected.

This is something that has been feared since these Home Assistants started becoming a thing. While I don't normally wear my tinfoil hat out in public, I find it amusing that these devices have gained such popularity after the hatred and fear of the Kinect spying on you, to the point of products being made to cover its cameras while not in use. Suffice to say neither Alexa or Home are going to be showing up in my home anytime soon.

So there you have it. Don't be surprised that the long-press to activate Assistant functionality, described in many reviews, isn't working. My Google Home Mini was inadvertently spying on me 24/7 due to a hardware flaw. Google nerfed all Home Minis by disabling the long-press in response, and is now looking into a long-term solution.

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