According to Artem Russakovskii from AndroidPolice, who attended this event, it appears that his device had been silently sitting there and transmitting what it recorded back to Google for about a week before he noticed.
Google's recently unveiled Google Home Mini speakers have landed into trouble, before even hitting the sales shelves. He noticed that his Google Home Mini was active and recording sound throughout the day, not only when he uttered the "OK, Google" keyword. The company's also working on a permanent fix and assuring people that only early units given out at its Made by Google event are affected, not the pre-order ones. Following the event, it sent members of the press home with a review unit of the Google Home Mini, expected to launch on October 19.
So now, users have to say the wake word to activate the smart speaker; a simple touch will no longer activate it. Google has achieved this by adjusting the device's software.
EPIC has pending complaints with the FTC and DOJ alleging that always-on devices like Google Home, Echo and Siri violate consumer protection law and federal wiretap law. Google Glass was notoriously badly received mainly for the on-board camera, and the Google Home (and Mini) come with mute switches for the mic built-in. Google responded by issuing a patch that disabled the touch panel's functionality.
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Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different exit paths. So check your smoke detectors. "It is recommended that families practice a home fire drill twice a year".
In a statement, Google said: "We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly". His report of the "near-constant" listening and recording prompted a quick response from Google.
Russakovskii has posted a video on YouTube showing the Home Mini activating and recording when it detects nearly any sound.
It looks like the problem has something to do with the touch panel on the device. The company also says it "removed any activity/queries that were created by long-pressing the top of a Google Home Mini between October 4 and October 7, when the software update was rolled out". The devices basically act as if someone is long-pressing the button to activate Assistant all the time, so they are recording nearly constantly.
While we may share a lot of our data with Google already, we do so with the knowledge that we've agreed to let the search giant hoover up information on our web searches.