Some Google Home Mini units would spy on users 24/7, but a fix has already been deployed


Google introduced the Home Mini early this month and the AI speaker is already available for purchase in many countries. For example, in the United States, Google Home Mini costs $49 and ships by October 18.

If you've already got one, then there's a slim chance that your speaker might have been spying on you 24/7 due to a hardware issue. A number of early units would constantly be triggered to listen to commands even when no one is around.

Moreover, these flawed Google Home Mini units were recording every time they were triggering and send the information to Google's servers. AndroidPolice discovered that the speaker managed at some point to take over a Spotify stream that was playing in a specific room and switch it to another room without being told to do so.

Luckily, Google Home Mini owners can check the activity of their speaker on Google's My Activity portal, which in this case revealed flawed unit sent thousands of items (each with a Play button and a timestamp) on the web.

The good news is Google has already acknowledged the issue over the weekend and released a software update that addresses the problem. You can find below Google's short statement on the matter:


If you own a Google Home Mini speaker, then you should try and get it updated to firmware version 1.28.100122, which is likely to temporarily correct problem.

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9 Comments

1. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

This actually is akin to Google's true MO (mode of operation ), and just it being a glitch.

2. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

and NOT just it being a glitch. As I doubt the incoming patch or fix will do much of anything at all. Remember : user data is a gold mine for companies like Google who rely on it to run their business... With the sale of user data , like selling the conversation of people for 24/7 to advitisers.

3. sgodsell

Posts: 7365; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Think about it for a moment. Even if Google does collect anything and everything. I find it hard to believe that in this case that they would want to spy on blank recordings with no one their saying a thing. Even you have to admit, why would they want to be constantly recording. Talk about a waste of data to go through. Not to mention it would be eating up a users data plan if their data is limited.

4. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I read this story on another site (IIRC it was Android Police). One of the writers their got a Mini at the Google event, and days later recognized his unit was doing this. He contacted Google Friday afternoon. Google sent someone out that night and exchanged his unit for 2 new ones (for the inconvenience). What they found was that the button to manually activate Assistant was intermittently triggering the unit. The patch Google pushed out disabled the button. Here's a link to the article: http://www.androidpolice.com/2017/10/10/google-nerfing-home-minis-mine-spied-everything-said-247/

5. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Alright, though that doesn't rule out the possibility and fact to me, that Google would definitely love to amass such user 24/7 if they could get away with it easily.

6. izim1

Posts: 1599; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Because they have the capacity to store such a useless amount of data, and it's cheap to do so... or is it just you, that they believe to be interesting enough to waste a tremendous amount of server resources, on? Think about what youre suggesting, for a minute

7. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Obviously, you don't know the business model of Google. Since Google does NOT sell user data, let alone convos. They would be an idiot to sell user data and take themselves out of the AD business. And I am pretty sure this patch will fix it, people will know if it doesn't and it would hurt Google a lot more.

8. worldpeace

Posts: 3133; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Google will be sued to death if someone found solid evidence/ proof that google is selling data..

9. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2359; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Google may not sell your data, but it is quite valuable for them to have. Google uses your data in order to know what kind of ads to show. Let's say it hears you mentioning you are going to McDonald's, well the next time you go on your computer you may see an advertisement for McDonald's. They didn't sell your data to McDonald's, but they used it nonetheless to know where to put those ads it has. Also, Google does indeed hand over your data to the government. This has been something known for years now with people like Snowden releasing documentation that backs up such a claim.

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