The number of devices believed to be affected by the bug is quite low - being limited to devices given out at a "Made by Google" event in the USA, the company informed Sky News, however it may still cause concern for British consumers. Heres the kicker: the Google Home Mini has three touch-sensitive areas on it.
Normally, the microphones in the speakers are supposed to activate only when a user says a certain phrase like "Hey Google".
Artem Russakovskii, reporter at Android Police, spotted the flaw in the £49 Home Mini that Google had given him to review. Some were listening to everything, recording it all, and transmitting the audio back to Google's servers.
Intelligent assistant platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant could be the next great frontier in computer interface, but there are bound to be some bumps along the way before we reach a Star Trek-style future.
So there's a chance that Google may recall some of the affected Home Mini devices or push out further patches that enable touch activation but prevent the continuous hoovering up of data. The software update has now apparently stopped the touch panel from working. "We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue". The Home Mini will now only wake when it hears the wake word.
After a Google engineer examined his unit, the big G found out that the device's touch panel has been behaving erratically and activating the device on its own. The small device is an always-listening smart assistant and some early shipments of the Google Home Mini came with a defect that realized our worst fear with always-listening devices. It had to do with the touch control mechanism on the top of the device that caused units to "behave incorrectly".
With security and privacy at the forefront of everyone's minds these days, especially with products that are capable of recording your conversation, this is obviously not the type of bug that Google wants right before a product launch. It appears that there was a bug in some of the Minis that caused it to think that long presses were being conducted and thus triggering the recording of sound.