The Most Common Google Home Problems, and How to Fix Them

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Designed to help you control the various smart devices and Google services in your life, Google Nest smart speakers function similarly to Amazon’s Echo speakers — except, you know, for Google stuff. While the Google Home is a nifty product and promising voice assistant, things don’t always go as planned. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the more common issues with the Home speaker, along with a few tips for making things right.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

I can’t keep Google Home connected to my Wi-Fi network

A known issue with some Google Home devices, this occurs even if a user places it directly beside a router or antenna. The Home may not connect properly to the network or may not maintain a reliable connection.

Solution:

  • Try rebooting the device. To do so, launch the Google Home app on a connected device and select Devices in the upper-right corner. Select the Home device, tap the three dots in the upper-right corner, then select Settings. Next, select More before tapping Reboot. If this sounds like a lot of work, unplug the Home device and leave it unplugged for roughly one minute before plugging it back in and reconnecting it.
  • If rebooting the Home a few times still results in a dropped connection, we suggest contacting Google Support and asking if there’s anything wrong with the connection or router. Google offers great support options for the Home and may be able to help.

Google Home ignores me and doesn’t respond to my voice

Solution:

  • Check and make sure the Home’s mic is on — after all, it could have been accidentally turned off. It also helps to check the indicator light located on the speaker; four lights means the mic is off. Turning the mic back on is done using the button on the back of the speaker.
  • If the speaker is on, but it still doesn’t seem to be responding, check the physical placement of the Home. Is there any chance of noise interference? Dishwashers, air vents, and a host of other noisemakers may prevent the Home from hearing users properly. If so, try moving it to a quieter area and see if it works better.
  • Google Home recently learned to recognize multiple users. To take advantage, open the Google Home app, select the card that says Multi-user is available. (If you don’t see it, tap the icon in the top-right to see all of your connected services.) Hit Link your account, then repeat short phrases like, “OK Google,” and “Hey, Google” to teach it to recognize your voice. Repeat as many times as necessary for up to six different accounts.

My voice commands also turn on my Google phone, laptop, and other devices

Solution:

  • It’s certainly annoying to start commanding a phone instead of the Home device, or both at the same time. There’s not much you can do to avoid this. However, we do suggest changing the activation phrase or “hot word” for either device. The default phrase “OK, Google” prompts the Home and other Google devices to listen. While you can change your phone or browser phrase, “OK, Google” is the only prompt for the Home.
  • To change the “hot word,” go to the device and install the Open Mic+ extension, which adds the ability to change the phrase from “OK Google.” Now you can set it to something like, “OK, Jarvis” or “Hey, Jeeves.”

Google Play Music will start to play music, then suddenly freeze

Solution:

  • This is a known problem with not just Google’s proprietary service but also with streaming platforms such as Spotify.
  • After making sure the Home is updated, your best bet is to reboot the device and see if music plays as it should. In the app, select the Home device, tap the three dots in the upper-right corner, then choose Settings. On the Settings page, select More, and tap Reboot. If this sounds like a lot of work, simply unplug the Home and leave it unplugged for about a minute before plugging it back in and reconnecting it. This is not a guaranteed fix, however, and it may not work forever. Google appears to be actively addressing this problem, and future updates are likely to address it.
Google Home
Google Home

I ask my Home questions, but it rarely knows anything

Solution:

  • Try unplugging the Home, waiting for a minute, and plugging it back in. It may also require a reboot to kick it into gear.
  • If this doesn’t work, double-check to make sure the Home links to a Google account with its location turned on . Additionally, make sure the Google account is able to answer questions regarding calendars, flights, and other items chosen during the initial setup process.
  • Try setting up voice match, as this helps Google to better understand your voice commands. Also, try re-phrasing your question, as Google Home tends to better understand direct questions better than long or drawn out inquiries.

Google isn’t recognizing the correct location for my home

Solution

  • This poses a problem while asking for nearby services, weather reports, and other location-reliant items. Specifying a home address may make a difference, as it tells the app exactly where you are.
  • To do this, start by opening the Home app. Afterward, select the top-left button to access additional settings. Select More Settings, go to Google Account Settings, and choose Personal Info. Then, select Home & Work Locations. Here, simply enter a street address to see if it’s able to locate the home.

My Home randomly responds, even though no one spoke to it

Solution:

  • Try moving it away from TVs, radios, and other vibration sources. Place it on a sturdier surface and see if it helps. It’s known that Home devices randomly speak up, even if someone hasn’t actually activated them. Fear not; the Home isn’t haunted — it’s just a little overeager.

My Home only says something is wrong and to “try again in a few minutes”

Solution:

  • This issue is probably a result of a place’s level of network connectivity. The Home is attempting to link to the internet, but it’s either unresponsive or taking an extended amount of time (which isn’t normal). If you discover that you have other smart devices in your home that are malfunctioning, double-check if the internet is up and running before entirely restarting your router.
  • If you find that the internet is working correctly on other devices, we suggest trying to reboot the Home device itself. We recommend a complete restart, which will require you to unplug the device and wait about a minute before plugging it back in. If you’re still experiencing issues for some reason, contact Google Support and describe your dilemma in detail. Recognizing this may warrant a dive into specific IP data, it’s always a good idea to enlist help at this point.

Home won’t play music, or stops playing music suddenly

Solution: 

  • Check to make sure the volume is turned up. You can turn up the volume at any time by saying, “OK, Google, turn it up.” Some Home and Nest devices also have on-board controls you can use to change the volume (and which may have been accidentally used to lower it).
  • Reboot the Home and see if it will play music correctly afterward.
  • Sometimes Home devices experience bugs that prevent them from playing music properly, especially from certain channels. Head to the Home app and make sure all updates have been applied to the Home device to see if this addresses the problem.
  • If you have a new Home device, you have to link third-party services like Spotify before they will play. Linking is relatively easy, and you can do it in the account settings on your Home app.

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