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Google removes top touch functionality from the Home Mini permanently

14 October, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • Google admits its new smart speaker was eavesdropping

Voice-command shopping through smart speakers like the Amazon Echo still hasn't caught on in a big way, but that may change as the technology grows more precise. This happens when using Google Assistant on any device, and if you weren't aware of this - and want to be a little bit freaked out - you should go and listen to all your past recordings here. Indeed, the idea behind AI-assisted speakers like the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo is almost identical to George Orwell's idea about the telescreens in his novel 1984, which is famous for its Big Brother character.

Google has been forced to redress its upcoming Home Mini devices, after a pre-release unit broke its bounds and started recording what was happening in a bathroom 24-hours a day.

Google responded to the "phantom" touch issue quickly, totally removing "long-press to talk" functionality from all active Home Mini devices. Current Home Mini customers would be right to be bummed out, or annoyed, or nauseated. Because his rooms are already laden with other Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers, he chose to plonk the Home Mini in his bathroom.

Maybe you do a quick Google search to learn more about the Home Mini. That's not good for Google.


"What's even better is that Target and Google teams are working on the next chapter, building experiences that digitally replicate the joy of shopping a Target store to discover stylish and affordable products", Mike McNamara, Target's chief information and digital officer, wrote in a prepared statement. On Thursday, Google also announced that consumers can now shop with Assistant on an Android TV, and soon, on eligible Android phones or iPhones. All voice interactions are sent to Google and remain in your account history.

And that's the real issue: This fiasco has the potential to follow Google, as well as its Home efforts, down the line. With Google lacking warehouses full of products and Walmart and Target lacking smart speaker hardware, it makes sense for them to combine forces.

Target has been testing the Google Express service in California and New York City for a while now, and today it announced that everyone in the contiguous United States can now order its products through the service. Who cares if Google Assistant is the superior AI assistant if no one feels comfortable using it? It also once again raises the privacy issues of having these devices in your home.

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