Google Home Mini touch feature disabled after eavesdropping flaw

Google has been forced to disable a key Google Home Mini feature following reports some units had been inadvertently eavesdropping on early adopters.

As well as responding to “Ok Google” voice commands, the Home Mini has a touch-sensitive surface than be used to alert the Google Assistant, and adjust the volume among other things.

Apparently, a malfunction with the sensor tricked some Home Mini devices into thinking the button was being touched when it wasn’t.

Related: Google Home vs Amazon Echo

This caused a “small number” of the devices to listen into users without being prompted.

Now, in a statement given to Wareable, Google says it has permanently disabled the feature.

“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.

“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.”

Mini or Max?

While this will be a blow for some early adopters, Google has probably taken the safest course of action here. Yesterday we speculated whether Google would recall affected units, but this seems pretty definitive.

The Home Mini was announced earlier this month. The £49/$49 features a pebble-like design with 360-degree sound projection.

It complements the existing Home and another newcomer, the Google Home Max, which promises premium audio.

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