Google Kills Google Home Mini's Top Touch Functionality

Google Kills Google Home Mini's Top Touch Functionality

This also points to a likely core issue with the Home Mini's touch-sensitive fabric top that may be too expensive to re-engineer and release after likely pre-producing hundreds of thousands of units ahead of launch.

Smart speakers like the Google Home Mini are created to start recording when a specific word is said like "Hey Google" or "Ok Google".

Google Assistant can still be activated by saying "OK, Google" or "Hey, Google" and touching the sides of the Home Mini to adjust the volume still works. Google told us in a statement that they take "user privacy and product quality very seriously", and by removing this feature, they hope customers who ordered and own a Google Home Mini will have "complete peace of mind" now. Since, Russakovskii touched the panel randomly instead of saying "OK Google", the defective touch panel started recording the events.

Google has disabled the Google Home Mini's top touch functionality, which gives users the power to interact with Google Assistant. It is expected they will try and push out a full fix for when the product starts shipping on October the 19.

But Russakovskii discovered that his Mini was listening in on him even when he hadn't pressed the device's button or said, "OK Google". The limited group of people given the device - media, Google employees, and other attendees of the hardware event - will no longer see any interactions initiated with the touch function in My Activity, a place Google users can review, hear, or delete Google Assistant interactions.

Google has chose to "permanently remove" the feature that led to a "small number" of Home Mini units accidentally recording thousands of times a day, instead of just when a user triggers it. On the Mini, this can be done by holding one's finger down on the top of the device. The change affects every Mini it's handed out, even those that weren't malfunctioning. They said that the issue stemmed from a touch control mechanism that was "behaving incorrectly".

Ultimately, the problem appears to be a simple error, not a malicious act of spying. After all, there are those who may find it uncomfortable to control the speaker by talking to it in a crowded room, despite the Home Mini primarily being a voice-enabled speaker.

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