Back in October Google disabled the touch controls on the Google Home Mini after a flaw in the controls left the speaker listening to everything that was said in a home. The touch controls on the top of the unit were supposed to be used to activate the Google Assistant.
Originally it was said that the touch controls were permanently removed from the speaker, but Google has reactivated the functionality in the latest preview firmware for the device. Rather than simply tapping the top of the Home Mini, you now have to long-press the side of the device.
The functions returning with touch controls include pausing music, stopping alarms, ending a call and so on. If you want the Google Home Mini to enter listening mode, you will have to do that using voice commands. The big upside here is certainly for those who use the Home Mini as an alarm clock; being able to touch it to silence an alarm is a big deal.
There is always the chance that touch-to-talk will come back, but there is no indication of when or if that might happen. Updates for the Home Mini are available via the Android and iOS app update feature. The catch is that there is no indication of when the touch control firmware might leave the preview channel and move to general availability for all users.
There's also another interesting tidbit, Google is looking for a new worker to head up a project for a Home device with a screen. It sounds like Google wants to field its own competitor to the Amazon Echo Show. Amazon and Google are embroiled in yet another spat, with Google recently pulling YouTube from Amazon devices... again.