A Google logo is seen in a store in Los Angeles, California, US, March 24, 2017. Photograph: (Reuters)
Google Home, the tech giant’s smart speaker, suffered an outage where the Assistant did not respond to the users. Google Home is equipped with the AI-based assistant which responds to the launch phrases, "Ok Google" or "Hey Google". Unfortunately, Google Assistant was responding with, "Hmm, something went wrong. Try again in a few seconds," or "There was a glitch. Try again in a few seconds". Google updated saying that the glitch has been fixed now.
The Google Home outage appears to have started from May 31 according to the complaints posted on Google Home Help Forum. Android Police reported that only the Google Home smart speaker was affected with this glitch, and the other devices with Google Assistant worked fine. Google Home users who pointed out the glitch on the forum said that they had tried resetting the device, and even changed the Wi-Fi network, but the problem was still occurring. To some users, the command ‘Ok Google’ would work 60 to 70 per cent of the time, and fail eventually.
Google responded to the issue saying that the company is looking into the matter. Today, Google updated the forum with a message saying that issue has been fixed – “We want to thank everyone for all the input, feedback and patience while we worked on this issue. We hope to have fixed this issue for everyone. If you are still having issues please try rebooting your Google Home by unplugging it from the wall outlet, waiting a minute then plugging it back in. Please do let us know if you are still experiencing any error messages after the saying 'Ok Google' or 'Hey Google'.”
So the Google Home outage could have been fixed simply by removing the plug from the socket, waiting for a minute and then plugging it back in. While Google did update its Home users on fixing the glitch, it did not specify why the issue was caused. Since only Google Home was suffering an outage, it was a relief considering people could still control their smart home products with their smartphones. Smart home products are still at a nascent stage in India, but in a market like the US, it’s becoming a necessity.
Going by the comment thread on the forum, it was noticeable how many people rely on Google Home and how some people have three, four of them lying at home. While this may seem like a small glitch, people who have a proper ecosystem of a smart home could suffer a bigger problem if the scale was higher.
Previously, only Amazon Echo and Google Home were dominating the home speaker market, but more players joined. The most recent ones include Harman Kardon’s Cortana-enabled Invoke and Andy Rubin’s intelligent speaker system, the Essential Home. The latest to join the scene is Apple with its Siri-powered HomePod speaker. As the reality moves to people depending on AI-enabled devices, these kinds of glitches could potentially create a bigger issue in the future. The Google Home glitch saw a temporary but widespread frustration among its users.