Google Home Mini is one of the latest gadgets Google has released recently on the market. It is an AI speaker which is made available in a number of countries all over the world. In the U.S., it cost about $49 and its sales will begin on October 18. If you’re fond of testing out any new devices you can get your hands to like this one, there’s something you should know before you get excited though, the new Google Home Mini was caught tracking and monitoring its users.
This was noticed by Artem Russakovskii at Android Police. Google Home Mini gave out some early tester when the Android Police found out the device’s hidden monitoring skills. He found that the device was recording every bit of sound in his house and transmits it to Google, creepy right?
Google has already acknowledged the issue and issued some patch to fix the “glitch” as they call it. They claimed that the glitch could be caused by a faulty touch sensor at the top.
According to Russakovski, when he got the speaker to his home, he decided to put it in the bathroom. And two days later after installing it, something creepy happened. He noticed that the device is getting activated repeatedly and was randomly recording.
“Several days passed without me noticing anything wrong. In the meantime, as it turns out, 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. All of this was done quietly, with only the four lights on the unit I wasn’t looking at flashing on and then off. As you can see, the Home Mini quietly turns on, flashes its lights, then shuts off after recording every sound. When the volume increases, it actually attempts to respond to random queries. I was even able to get it to turn on just by knocking on the wall,” said Russakovskii. Because of this, he has contacted Google PR and described the issue as urgent.
Google engineers claimed that the Google Home Mini had a faulty touch panel and was recording the “phantom” touch and events. And that Google Home Mini can be activated by saying the magic words “OK Google” or by a long press at the top. And they claimed that since Russakovskii randomly touched the panel instead of saying the magic words, the faulty touch panel began to record the events.
Russakovskii’s Google Home Mini is only one out of the many test units Google gave away during a press event last week. Right now, it isn’t clear if the other testers have the same bug. It was reported that the Google patch had disabled the touch panel of the test unit even though the mini speaker did not act crazy.
Although it isn’t that surprising for devices connected to the internet to violate users’ privacy, users still expected a lot from Google. With Google gearing up to start shipping their new mini speaker, glitches like this is definitely won’t put them to users’ good graces at all. Nonetheless, some customers who have been anticipating the release of the new device might overlook the issue as they take in consideration on how quick Google had controlled the problem, suggesting that it was only some technical glitch and not a pre-meditated feature in the speaker.
Google stated in a statement, “We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly. We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue.”
As of now, no one else has reported of having the same problem in the mini speaker and it seems to be Google’ lucky day as the Home Mini reviews that keep coming in are somewhat encouraging.
Google has already perfectly pitched the product according to Wired which emphasized the device’s smart features over its functionality as a speaker. So far, Google Home Mini is already doing what exactly it is designed for and not taking too much space in the house and still works the way it should.
Google Home Mini is offered against the Amazon Echo Dot and carries a price tag of $49. The mini speaker could be an ideal start for someone who wants to experience what smart speakers really do. In its latest smart home devices – Google Home Mini and Max – Google has already presented some cool and awesome features and among these features, there are quite a few that still shows the progression of the product line which is now on its second year. One of these features is the “Announcement” feature where it enables a user to broadcast the message to all the Home devices in the house, as long as the user has Google assistant on his Android device.
In conclusion, glitch or not, Google must be more cautious on how they develop their devices as users these days are very particular with their privacy. And speaking of privacy, there’s SMS-tracking software that lets its users track their SMS messages, social media accounts, GPS location, call logs and a whole lot more. This SMS-tracking software is known as SMS Tracker. SMS Tracker provides its users with lots of functionality that allows them to keep track of other devices as long as they have owner of the device’s consent. This app is ideal for parents and employers who wants to keep tabs on their kids and staffs.