Google recently introduced Google Home Mini as it dives deeper into the smart speaker space. However, the new device’s tap-to-activate feature has been forced to be disabled due to malfunction.
Originally the device could be activated by users in two ways – say “OK Google” or just tap the button on the top of Google Home Mini.
However, a reporter receiving a test unit has discovered that the speaker could turn on by itself, recording all the conversations and uploading them to Google. Without being tapped on or receiving the wake-up word, the device was listening and recording the whole time without user’s consent.
Upon receiving the news, Google blamed the malfunction on a wrong touch detection even though no contact was made on some speaker units. This caused Google Home Mini to activate on its own sometimes.
The company said it will roll out a software update to disable the button entirely and permanently. “We take user privacy and product quality concerns very seriously. Although we only received a few reports of this issue, we want people to have complete peace of mind while using Google Home Mini,” Google said in a statement.
“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 can still adjust the volume by using the touch control on the side of the device.”
The $50 Google Home Mini will go on sale on October 19, and the touch-to-activate function will be removed from all new models, claimed the company.