Do you have a virtual assistant (VA) or know someone who does? They can be very helpful around the house: they control smart appliances, give you news and traffic updates, play music and so much more.
These conveniences can be very addictive. I can't imagine cooking dinner again without asking Alexa for recipe ideas while playing my favorite music channel in the background. However, some people fear that having a VA in their home will jeopardize their privacy. Unfortunately, Google just confirmed those fears.
Some Google Mini devices recorded everything it heard
If you have a VA, you know that to get its attention you simply need to say the wake word or phrase. For example, with Amazon's Alexa, you just say Alexa and with Google's VA you say OK Google.
Saying these words "wakes" your virtual assistant up so that it can hear your requests. You can ask things like, "OK Google, what is traffic like on my commute to work?" It's that easy.
We recently learned that a glitch found in some of Google's Home Mini devices had it waking up on its own, without a voice command. It would then record everything happening within listening range. Those recordings were then sent to Google.
Google has admitted that there was a problem with some of the new gadgets. Here is a statement released by the company:
"The Google Home team is aware of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch control mechanism to behave incorrectly. We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue."
Google also claims that only people who received an early release Home Mini device at recent Made by Google events are affected. Anyone who pre-ordered a Google Mini Home gadget should not be affected.
What you should do now
If you own a Google Home Mini device and want to make sure there are no unwanted recordings of you saved, there's a way to find out and delete them. Click here to learn how to erase all of your past Google activity.
If you are still having this issue with your Home Mini, contact Google Home Support at 1-855-971-9121 to get a replacement.
Worried about your privacy? Read this to find out if your apps are spying on you
When you sign up for a new app, you can often use credentials from social media to automatically log in. That's scary because the sites that use your credentials have access to your name, photos, email address and more information that you'd like to keep private.