The good news is Google has already acknowledged the issue over the weekend and released a software update that addresses the problem.
Artem Russakovskii, reporter at Android Police, spotted the flaw in the £49 Home Mini that Google had given him to review. When attempting to watch something on a nearby television, he noticed that the Home Mini was turning itself on several times during the show and trying to listen. I saw thousands of items, each with a Play button and a timestamp, all attributed to the cryptically named com.google.android.apps.chirp/mushroom/prod and Assistant.
Google was quick to respond to the report, sending an engineer to examine the unit right away, and admitting that there was a major problem with it. It can be disabled, but Russakovskii's wasn't. Heres the kicker: the Google Home Mini has three touch-sensitive areas on it.
The company said in a statement: "The Google Home team is aware of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch control mechanism to behave incorrectly". If you're having any additional issues, please feel free to contact Google Support at 1-855-971-9121.
As Russakovskii explains, he'd placed the Home Mini in his bathroom but soon discovered it was waking up "thousands of times a day" and transmitting recordings to Google.
The Home Mini smart speaker is created to respond to commands when it hears the wake phrase "OK Google". 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.
As a leader in search and keeper of many pieces of personal information Google is ultra-conscious of any perceived privacy incursions from their products. The software fix prevents the activation of the speaker with a touch, which was a feature meant to offer options for activation.
The "issue" has been "mitigated" remarkably fast via a software update rolled out on October 7, and no pre-ordered units set to start shipping next Thursday were affected by it in the first place.