Over the last three days, there have been widespread reports of Google Home smart speakers becoming entirely unresponsive. Most of those affected appear to be in the Google Home preview program, which allows the adventurous to test early firmware releases. While a factory reset has fixed the issue for some, for others, it reportedly makes things worse, rendering the device no longer discoverable.
For those suffering the problem, symptoms start with a flashing orange indicator LED, paired with a lack of response to the OK/Hey Google hotword. For many, attempting a factory reset changes this to a solid orange indicator LED, removing the device from their list in the Home app and rendering it undiscoverable in future connection attempts. While some have had success with multiple factory resets (paired with removing it from Wi-Fi access, holding the mic button, and unplugging/re-plugging-in the device, etc.), others find their Google Home is incapable of being reset again after the first attempt.
The issue sounds similar to the faulty firmware update that rolled out late last year, but this time around, only the regular, slant-topped Google Home appears to be affected, and the majority of reports indicate that the issue is limited to those using the preview program firmware.
For the record, Google claims in its support documents that the preview program is not distributing "beta" software: "Our intention is that Preview Program updates will be of the same quality as production version updates. You're simply getting earlier access to new features before they’re released broadly."
Last year Google, after rolling out a fix for a similar problem, Google offered to replace all devices that might still be affected regardless of warranty status. With the original Google Home now over three years old, hopefully, the company makes the same offer this time around.
We've reached out to Google about this issue, but a response wasn't immediately forthcoming. We'll be sure to update our coverage if we hear more.
Fix now rolling out
A Google spokesperson informs us that a fix for this problem is now rolling out:
We’ve resolved a server configuration issue that caused a small number of people to have trouble using their Google Home. A fix has been released and devices should recover with no action required from users.
So far, the associated support threads still show folks having trouble as of yesterday, though some have since been able to fix the issue themselves via the previously mentioned reset troubleshooting options (a progression of steps is listed here).
Hopefully, when the fix rolls out, it's able to resolve the issue for those whose speakers are currently unresponsive.