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Google Home Preview Program update bricks some devices (Update: Fix is here)

Anyone with a malfunctioning Google Home device should see the update very soon.

Published onJanuary 30, 2020

Update, January 30, 2020 (03:50 PM ET): It looks like Google is rolling out a fix now to the Google Home Preview Program issue described in the article below. Google gave Android Police the following statement:

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.

Judging from the statement, anyone with a malfunctioning Google Home product should see the update soon and have no issues going forward. For more information on the problem, continue reading.

Original article, January 27, 2020 (03:00 PM ET): If you own the original Google Home and you are currently in the Preview Program, you might want to take caution with its most recent update. According to several people on Reddit and on the Google forums, the latest Preview Program update seems to brick some people’s devices.

The first signs of the issue appear when the Google Home’s LED indicator begins flashing orange, and it becomes unresponsive to the Hey/OK Google voice commands. At this point, users have tried factory resetting the device, but in many cases, this makes the device completely undiscoverable on the network.

Though we don’t know for sure what is going on, it looks like this issue stems from an unidentified error when the Google Home tries to reconnect to the user’s saved Wi-Fi network. For some reason, the device cannot connect to the network, effectively bricking the device.

A similar issue happened to Google Home devices last year, too, but affected units were not limited to Preview Program participants. Unfortunately, there was no fix for that particular error, and Google shipped replacement devices to affected users.

Related: Google Home and Assistant commands – here’s the ones you need to know

How to (maybe) fix the issue

We don’t know of any official patch at this time. At this point, the safest route is probably to sit this one out and wait until Google provides an official fix.

But, if you don’t want to wait around and you want to try to fix the device yourself, a few people have had luck with the following method:

  • Disable your home Wi-Fi network to prevent the Google Home from trying to reconnect.
  • Unplug your Google Home, and plug it back in after a minute or so.
  • Factory reset your device. (Some people have to do this step multiple times for it to work.)
  • Wait until it finishes booting. You can tell it’s finished when the Google Home says there is no internet connection, and the device should respond to your touch inputs.
  • Attempt to reconnect the Google Home to your Home app from nearby devices.
  • Set up your Google Home as usual.
  • When it asks to connect to the internet, turn on your Wi-Fi network, and finish the setup process.
  • Repeat the entire process if necessary.

Be warned, as we said earlier, resetting the device has made the issue more severe in many cases. If you decide to try to fix this issue on your own, you may actually make it worse than before.

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