Google Home Mini

Functionality is already being removed from the Google Home Mini before the pint-sized smart speaker is even available in stores. Which, I would normally be kind of upset about, but in this case, it seems to be a good thing. The reason being, it appears that Home Mini was spying on folks using review units passed out to all attendees of the big October 4th Google event.

It’s not all that surprising that this happened. In fact, it’s shocking that it didn’t happen sooner. What’s really interesting about this story is the manner in which the bug was discovered. Artem Russakovskii, the founder of Android Police, wrote a fascinating article about his discovery that his new Google Home Mini was spying on everything he said.

I won’t take you through all of the details, but you should definitely check out his article for the full details. It’s a story that involves a late-night rendezvous with a Google PR rep, and in the end, Google not only acknowledges the “bug”, but they’ve gone as far as to remove top touch functionality from the Home Mini altogether. Pretty magnificent, considering the power the blogosphere has these days.

Say goodbye to top touch functionality on the Google Home Mini

It is presumable that all of the early adopter models spying, including the 4,000 Home Minis given away at donut pop-up events, as well as the ones from the October 4th press event. Google is rolling out an update to fix the issue and says all devices should have the update no later than October 15th.

The good news is you get the same functionality using your voice.

  • Say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” instead of pressing and holding the top of Mini to start a request.
  • Say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google <pause/play/stop>” instead of tapping the top of Mini to control music, alarms, and timers.

Although Google does say the removal is permanent, there’s no word on whether or not there will be a fix that might possibly restore functionality in the future. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Did you pre-order a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL? You know you get a free Google Home Mini with it, right? Google is sending out codes to everyone who pre-orders in about 4 weeks now. I will get one with my purchase, so expect to see coverage here on the site in the near future.

What do you make of all this, friends? Are you surprised that Google got caught spying? Will this affect your decision to buy? Hit me in the comment thread.

You know what to do.