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Google is to kill off a key feature of its new $49 smart home speaker after it was revealed a design flaw meant that the gadget was constantly monitoring and recording some user's speech.
The Home Mini is meant to bring the convenience of the firm's smart assistant to any room at an affordable price, but it may have been doing more than just that.
Android - Police - Founder - Artem - Russakovskii
Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii first uncovered the bug, which relates to the long-press gesture function built into the Home Mini.
Google initially planned to fix the issue, but has now decided to kill the switch off.
Privacy - Product - Quality - Concerns - Spokesperson
"We take user privacy and product quality concerns very seriously,' a spokesperson said.
'Although we only received a few reports of this issue, we want people to have complete peace of mind while using Google Home Mini.
Decision - Touch - Functionality - Google - Home
"We have made the decision to permanently remove all top touch functionality on the Google Home Mini.
'As before, the best way to control and activate Google Home Mini is through voice, by saying 'Ok Google' or 'Hey Google,' which is already how most people engage with our Google Home products.
'You - Volume - Control - Side - Device
'You can still adjust the volume by using the touch control on the side of the device.'
The switch had let users bring up the smart assistant with the touch of a button, activating voice commands.
Mr - Russakovskii - Google - Touches - Home
Mr Russakovskii found that, due to what Google has called 'phantom touches', the Home Mini was in a constant state of anticipation, listening for and awaiting verbal instructions.
While this in itself is a fairly minor inconvenience, it has major implications for the privacy of users and could, in theory, let Google monitor everything that is said in your home.
Information - Mountain - View - Firm - Servers
This information is also transmitted to the Mountain View firm's servers, raising the possibility of the information being recorded.
Writing in Android Police,...
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