Smart Home Systems like the Google Home Mini is intended to only listen for a specific wake word, in this case, it’s “Hey Google” or “Ok Google.” Only then do their receivers record what you’re saying it, transmit it to the cloud, and try to solve your question. But there is normally a way to just hit a button and ask the embedded assistant a problem. On the Mini, it’s holding your finger resting on the top of it.
That appears to be the problem with Mini: it thought that somebody was holding its thumb down on the top and so was randomly stimulating and recording. The good news is that the lights turned on to show it was listening, but the bad news is that it didn’t make a distinct tone, so it took a trip through the Home’s search archives to discover the error.
To Google’s credit, it appears to have scrambled the engineering jets to conclude out the issue and create a fix. The fix, though, is killing a feature from the Mini. Google has changed the software so a simple touch won’t stimulate the Assistant, you have to say the wake word instead. Here’s Google’s statement about the issue.
“We heard of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the handling mechanism to behave incorrectly. We rolled out an update on October 7 to mitigate the issue. If you’re still getting issues, please feel free to contact Google Support at 1-855-971-9121 to get a replacement Google Home Mini.”
Google has also posted a help blog about the issue, identifying the affected units as “early release Google Home Mini device at recent Made by Google events” and writing that it won’t affect preordered units sold at retail.