Unfortunately, the touch panels on some units, specifically those handed out to journalists at Made by Google, acted like someone was constantly pressing them, triggering the device to turn on and start recording.
Google Home Mini: Why Is It Recording Everything?
As an added precaution, all activity and queries created by long-pressing the touch sensor on Home Mini speakers between October 4-7 have been wiped and will no longer show up on owner's My Activity Page. Google is taking no risks with this defect-all Google Home Minis will have a day-one software update that disables the touch gesture to activate Assistant. The software update has now apparently stopped the touch panel from working.
That's a big problem, since smart speakers should never record audio without a specific prompt from the user ("OK Google", "Alexa", etc.).
Russakovskii swapped the device with Google, whose engineers determined that the device was registering "phantom" touches.
"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", said Russakovskii. We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue.
As well as documenting his finding, Russakovskii reported the issue to Google - and the company was quick to respond and investigate.
Here's the statement Google issued:"We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly".
Potentially impacted users can find more information on this Google support page. However, the alarming part in this whole snooping episode is that the Home Mini didn't make any noise while recording the sounds. If users don't want to bother with extending a greeting to a machine, they can also just press a button on top of the Mini and then voice the command or question.
It's not clear yet what Google's permanent fix for the long press bug will be.