Ouch. With the Google Home Mini being released on October 18th, it was discovered that some of them were constantly recording audio and transmitting it back to Google without being intentionally activated.
With security and privacy at the forefront of everyone's minds these days, especially with products that are capable of recording your conversation, this is obviously not the type of bug that Google wants right before a product launch.
Those who attended the recent Google launch event were given a free Google Home Mini to take home with them. According to Artem Russakovskii from AndroidPolice, who attended this event, it appears that his device had been silently sitting there and transmitting what it recorded back to Google for about a week before he noticed.
You can see in the video created by Artem how the Google Home Mini would activate on its own as indicated by the four lights turning on.
When he contacted Google about the issue, they immediately sent someone over to pick up the device in order to a detailed analysis. According to the emails received by Artem, Google stated that this appeared to be a hardware bug in some of the Google Home Minis.
We have learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Minis that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly. We are rolling out a software update today that should address the issue. If you're having any additional issues, please feel free to contact Google Support at 1-855-971-9121.
While the Home Mini is typically activated by a user saying "OK, Google" or "Hey, Google", you can also activate the Mini press performing a long press on the device's panel. It appears that there was a bug in some of the Minis that caused it to think that long presses were being conducted and thus triggering the recording of sound.
According to Google, a new firmware with version unmber 1.28.100122 has already been rolled out to all Google Minis that disables this long press feature in order to prevent it from triggering unwanted recordings.