Google has permanently disabled the top touch function on Google Home Mini

Google admits its new smart speaker was eavesdropping on users

While the tap to engage Google Assistant is being permanently disabled, the touch sensitive volume controls have not, with Google advising 'Mini's volume controls haven't changed.

Announced earlier this month alongside the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, the Google Home Mini is a compact version of the Google Home smart speaker the company launched in select markets past year. Shortly after the issue was brought to Google's attention on October 7, the company created a support page, rolled out a software update, and removed all correspondence with the device initiated with the top touch between October 4 and October 7.

So again, if you ordered a Google Home Mini, you should expect the top touch functionality to no longer work. The issue, which stems from the Home Mini's touch-sensitive fabric cover being overly sensitive and inadvertently activating on its own, gave people a bit of a spook when it was discovered that early Home Minis were activated and therefore recording 24 hours a day.

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We take user privacy and product quality concerns very seriously. One concern that some people have about smart speakers is that they can always be listening to you, and so Google may have chose to simply eliminate the top touch feature so that this 24/7 recording issue can pop up in the future and affect the Google Home Mini. Some are already calling Google out for releasing a defective device, but you also can't blame Google for erring on the side of caution. The Home Mini does retain the side touch volume control, but that's pretty much it for touch controls. Although we only received a few reports of this issue, we want people to have complete peace of mind while using Google Home Mini. This means, that there is only one way the Google Mini Home could be activated, and it is by voice command.

At the time, Google responded promptly to the bug report and its investigation found "an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Minis that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly".

Google launched "Home Mini" on October 4 for $49 at an event in San Francisco. Before Google killed this feature, it would allow you to long-press on the top of the device to activate Google Assistant. We're sure you have some opinions - let us know in the comments!

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