Google Home Mini news, updates: System bug causes speaker to record sounds 24/7

Google StoreA promotional photo for Google Home

The Google Pixel event earlier this month introduced the mini version of Google Home. Unfortunately for the search engine giant, there are already issues reported about the mini speaker just a few days after hitting the shelves.

It appears that the problem with the Google Home Mini is that it records sounds in the surrounding area non-stop, Engadget reported. The first report came from Artem Russakovskii of Android Police, where he claimed that the mini speaker he got from the Google keynote event last week was recording audio in his house without telling it to do so. He said that the Home Mini would flash its lights all the time, which is an indication that the speaker is awake 24/7 just to store audio recordings.

With this case, it appears that the Google Home Mini would activate the audio recording feature without the user saying "OK, Google." This voice prompt is made possible by the Google Assistant. Another way to make the Home Mini to record sounds is by pressing the touch panel on top for a long time.

Hours after Russakovskii reported the uninitiated audio recording by his Home Mini, a Google representative collected the device to be examined. The company's engineer then confirmed that the mini speaker was not behaving properly, with the touch panel activating the recording by itself. Another proof that the Google Home Mini records sound without the user's prompt is Russakovskii's activity portal full of recorded audio files on the Google server.

Aside from Russakovskii, a "small number" of Google Home Mini owners have also reported the same 24/7 sound recording of their device. The number of recording attempts of the mini speaker can go up to thousands a day. Taking the issue into consideration, Google finally decided to remove the top panel functionality of the Home Mini, which is seen as the culprit behind the speaker's repeated recording, The Verge reported.

In a short statement, Google came up with the decision to disable the top button of Home Mini to give the public "complete peace of mind." Aside from an enormous pile of junk audio recordings, the audio recording issue of the Google Home Mini would raise privacy concerns, especially that the speaker itself can be viewed as a tool for illegal surveillance.

It is not yet known if Google will bring back the top panel functionality of Home Mini in the near future. For now, the speaker can only be activated through voice command. The remaining left and right buttons of Google Home Mini retain their function to adjust the volume.