Update: Since this article was posted, Google has outlined how it intends to help affected customers.
Firmware updates for the Google Home smart speakers occur over the air and in the background, so you won’t even know they’re happening … unless something goes wrong, that is.
And recently it appears that something is going wrong for some owners, as one particular update seems to be rendering the speakers useless.
Affected owners have been posting their experiences on several forums, with many apparently having difficulty resetting their device. In most cases, the speaker’s LED lights remain on, but the device is unresponsive.
Google acknowledged the problem four weeks ago, promising that “the team is working on this issue and checking the root cause since not all Google Home devices are affected.”
But there has been no word from the tech giant since. We’ve reached out to the company for more information and will update this piece if we hear back.
The most troubling part of this episode, however, is that owners whose devices are out of warranty appear to be in an even bigger bind, lumbered with a faulty device but currently with no way to exchange it.
One user on Google’s support forum wrote: “Contacted the customer care and they rejected my replacement as my product is just a little over 1 year. How unprofessional of Google. Firstly it is not our fault, so why are we getting penalized? Some software update from their server damaged my device and how can I be ok with it!”
Another said: “Having the same issue here too. If this is an update issue that bricked the device, Google has to find a way to resolve this situation. Mine’s not even three months old.”
If you’re unlucky enough to be lumbered with a bricked Google Home device, first try unplugging it for 10 seconds and then plugging it back in to see if that helps. No luck? Then try performing a factory reset (instructions for different devices here). If that fails, check back here for more information or search Google’s help pages to see if it posts advice on how to resolve the situation.
With the issue now gaining widespread media attention, we expect to see Google offer at least some further acknowledgment that it is examining the issue, though the only thing that affected owners want right now is a fix. And fast.