Skip to main content

Google confirms that its Assistant is acting strangely again

Most smart speaker glitches aren’t worthy of a breaking news bulletin, but a new rash of Google Assistant bugs might be worth some pixilated ink. A number of reports have appeared in recent days on a Google Assistant forum that show the digital assistant is spontaneously switching to U.S. English only and refusing to respond to the traditional “OK, Google,” command.

The company has acknowledged that it’s having some issues and that the Google Assistant support team is looking into users’ problems with the digital assistant and its accompanying use on smartphones and the company’s Google Home products.

As first reported at Piunikaweb, Google’s response has been straightforward, if a bit muted. The common response to the outbreaks of breaks goes something like this: “Hey, folks. Thank you for sharing feedback regarding this issue, and I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. The team is aware of this problem and currently investigating a stable solution. Please feel free to continue updating this thread with any additional information.”

Weirdly, in addition to switching to U.S. English and refusing to respond to wake-up commands, Google Assistant is also going through a sex change. Several users on the forum report their Google Assistants not only changing languages, including switching between accented English versions including British English and Australian, but have also changed from female to male and vice-versa.

Here are some of the complaints being fielded against Google over the Google Assistant fracas:

“My Google Home and Samsung GS7 phone assistants have started talking in an American male voice too.  I am based in the U.K. and both are set to U.K. English with the female assistant voice who I miss.  I literally hate the male American voice!  Why has it gone Google?  Interestingly this has only affected my free Google account. When I switch to my G suite account the female U.K. English comes back, however I can’t access my calendar etc. with G suite! Get this sorted Google and bring back my U.K. English female!”


“Yeah, I’m a U.S. user but have mine set to U.K. English because I dig the accent. Last night it started responding in U.S. English, and every time I tried to switch it around I’d get the “something went wrong, please try again in a second” in the accent of my choice followed by a reversion to U.S. English immediately afterward. Today I’m occasionally getting the odd response in the chosen accent, but most of the time it’s back to the default. Please fix, I’m feeling less cultured by the moment. :)”

Another user reported that they were able to change the localization to Japanese and talk to the device in Japanese but somehow Google seems to have misplaced all the non-U.S. English Language assistants.

Users are also currently reporting that the “Voice Match” setting on their Google Assistants is currently grayed out after the last software update. We’re also pondering whether this has something to do with the Google Assistant’s newly acquired multilingual features. Regardless, we’ll keep an eye on the Case of the Missing Overseas Assistants and let you know if the problems persist.

Editors' Recommendations

Clayton Moore
Clayton Moore’s interest in technology is deeply rooted in the work of writers like Warren Ellis, Cory Doctorow and Neal…
Google stops updating third-party smart displays
The Lenovo Smart Display on a table.

Google Assistant is one of the most popular smart home assistants of 2023, but it looks like big changes are in store for the remainder of the year. According to an updated support page, Google won’t be pushing any more Assistant updates to select third-party smart displays.

The Lenovo Smart Display, LG Xboom AI ThinQ WK9, and JBL Link View are the three smart displays in question -- and if you currently have them in your home, don’t expect to see further updates for their Assistant platform. They will, of course, continue to function as they did before this announcement, but they won’t receive any more software updates to enhance their performance.

Read more
Why you should be using Google Home Routines
The Google Nest Hub Max in use.

If you’ve finally jumped into the smart home world by picking up a Google Nest Hub or other Google Home-compatible gadgets, you might think setting up Routines is something to postpone until you become an expert. After all, coming to terms with your new smart home might take a few days -- and Routines can often sound like a complex feature that’s best saved for a rainy day.

However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Routines are shockingly easy to use, and they allow you to harness the full power of your smart home. Here’s a look at what Routines are, how they work, and why you’ll want to start using them as soon as possible.
What are Google Home Routines?

Read more
What is Google Home?
Image of Google Home, 16:9 scale

Google Home is at the heart of Google’s smart home ecosystem. From video doorbells and security cameras to smart thermostats and smart speakers, Google Home gives you the versatility needed to control everything in your house. There’s a lot of nuance to the system, but getting started is simple -- just download the Google Home app to your smartphone, sync a compatible device, and you’re ready to start optimizing your daily routines.

Here's a closer look at everything you need to know about Google Home.
What is Google Nest, and how does it work with Google Home?

Read more