Google will permanently disable a control on its new $50 speaker after a privacy fiasco

Google is permanently disabling a feature on the forthcoming Google Home Mini smart speaker, after a reviewer discovered that it was

surreptitiously recording his conversations without his knowledge or consent.
The issue, says Google, was that the button on top of the device was faulty and would sometimes activate on its own. In response, Google acknowledged that this bug affected a small number of units, and issued a software update that would disable that button entirely, for all users, while it explored a long-term fix.

Now, that change will be permanent.

Here’s Google’s statement:

“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.”

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