Apparently, the review unit handed over to Russakovskii was malfunctioning on the touch sensor level.
After contacting Google press relations with an urgent request explaining the issue, Russakovskii heard back in minutes.
Google's new $50 Home Mini has been well received by reviewers, but one of those early reviewers, Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii, discovered a bug that effectively turned the Home Mini it into a spying device. Google's online account security and privacy tools include an activity timeline that can be filtered to specific products and services, and Android Police confirmed that the Home Mini was indeed uploading thousands of audio snippets to Google's servers as if they were user commands.
Under normal circumstances, you can long press the touch control to speak a command.
EPIC has pending complaints with the FTC and DOJ alleging that always-on devices like Google Home, Echo and Siri violate consumer protection law and federal wiretap law. "We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue, before Google Home Mini shipped to anyone in the United Kingdom", a Google spokesperson told Mashable. We are rolling out a software update today that should address the issue. It was here that he noticed the thousands of recordings with timestamps to go along with them. In Russakovskii's case, a defect with his unit caused it to record audio constantly as it tried to answer. The culprit, it seemed, was the device's touch panel, created to allow his Home Mini to activate Google Assistant without a verbal command; due to a fault, the device constantly experienced "phantom" touch events that turned the assistant on and began recording. Smart speakers like Home Mini are made to respond to the hot words like "Hey Google" or "Ok Google".
A Google spokesperson confirmed the software issue, saying it stems from the touchpad's activation button.
Potentially impacted users can find more information on this Google support page.
The cause of the problem was what Google calls "phantom touches" where the device constantly thinks it has been triggered by physical input.
It's not clear yet what Google's permanent fix for the long press bug will be.