Google Home Mini’s Top Touch Functionality is Being Entirely Removed due to a Hardware Bug
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At the October 4th Google event, we were finally introduced to the long-rumored Google Home Minidevice, which is going to be sold alongside the regular, bigger Google Home and the mammoth Google Home Max.
It brings all of the regular Google Home features, including voice assistance, in a way smaller package and a more affordable price point. The end goal is to bring smarter homes to all audiences, with a more affordable package to expand the Assistant user base. However, hardware defects are already appearing for the lucky few using review Home Mini units at their homes. And Google is now addressing one of these defects with a drastic change in the Google Home Mini capabilities.
This issue was first brought up to light by Android Police founder, Artem Russakovskii, with his Google Home Mini review unit.
Thedevice in question was behaving differently from the rest of the review units: it was actually waking up thousands of times a day, flashing its lights and even attempting to answer random queries (like movie dialogues, videos, and even background noise), saying it “did not understand”. As it turns out, the device was recording everything 24/7 due to an issue with the top touch functionality (which allows users to trigger the Assistant by touching the top of the Home Mini instead of saying “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”), and sending the data to Google servers, where it can be clearly seen on the My Activity portal.
Google first attempted to address the issue with a firmware update, which temporarily disabled the top touch functionality while they looked for a fix. However, they’ve eventually settled
on canning the top touch panel entirely on all Google Home Mini devices – both review units and retail units – and disabling it through software. This means that the only way to trigger the Assistant on these devices, as well as play/pause/stop alarms, is through voice. The side touch functionality for controlling volume is still there, though, as the issue is present only on the top panel. Be sure to check out the original Android Police article for more details on this particular hardware issue, as well as the steps that were taken by Google to address it.