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Google removes Home Mini's touch functionality following privacy concerns

12 October 2017

After a short privacy scare over the weekend that involved Google Home Mini and its top touch area functioning improperly, Google has gone ahead and permanently killed the feature. Which means you can not do inputs like touch to play or pause audio.

According to Google engineers, the Home Mini in question had a defective touch panel, and was recording the "phantom" touch and events. But after its latest decision, the two side touch points, which are used to increase or decrease volume will remain functional, but the top touch point, which was supposed to trigger Google Assistant as well as control music, alarms, and timers, will stop working.

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Google has said it will permanently disable the touch-sensitive function of all Google Home Minis - including touching it to pause/play audio, we suppose - following reports this week that issues with the software and hardware were causing the devices to constantly record and send audio back to Google.

We take user privacy and product quality concerns very seriously. "As before, the best way to control and activate the 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". The company also says that the Mini's left and right side can still be tapped to adjust volume.

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The issue, says Google, was that the button on top of the device was faulty and would sometimes activate on its own.

It's still unclear, however, if dropping the touch functionality will affect sales of the speaker. 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. "The update will be completely rolled out by end of day October 15, 2017", Google's statement reads.

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So again, if you ordered a Google Home Mini, you should expect the top touch functionality to no longer work. After all, there are those who may find it uncomfortable to control the speaker by talking to it in a crowded room, despite the Home Mini primarily being a voice-enabled speaker. "You can also always go to your My Activity page and delete any past activity from your account".

Google removes Home Mini's touch functionality following privacy concerns