Software updates are a funny thing. Something intended to make a product better and more secure can occasionally produce less-than-favorable results. The latest firmware update for a couple of Google Home devices, unfortunately, has done the latter and the fallout is nothing short of a train wreck.
The devices in question are Google’s original Home smart speaker and the first generation Home Mini that, for the most part, are favorites among many consumers. The firmware update has caused more than just some bugginess as a growing number of forum reports state that the devices are now completely inoperable and there isn’t a way to revert to the previous firmware version. To make matters worse, the affected devices will no longer connect to saved networks which means pushing a software fix is likely going to be impossible.
Most confounding is the fact that there is no “smoking gun” to pinpoint which devices are or will be affected. Users are reporting the issue from just about every country you can imagine. A few have had luck with doing a factory reset but the majority are still left with a #madebygoogle paperweight with four illuminated LEDs and nothing more. Hundreds upon hundreds of posts in the official Nest forum. All with one resounding theme: Me too. So, where is Google in all of this?
I feel a bit like Lemony Snicket at this point. I WISH I could tell you that this story has a happy ending. I want to tell you that Google has issued a blanket replacement announcement for any and all affected devices. Sadly, that isn’t the case at the moment. However, there is a glimmer of hope Google may be willing to make right what their software update destroyed.
Here in the states, the Google Home and Mini have a one-year warranty against defects and that should cover borked software updates. If you bought yours from a retailer other than Google, simply contact them and with a little luck, they’ll just replace it. If you Mini came from Google, head over to the Google Store and fire up a chat via the help page by clicking “Contact Us>Trade in or repair your device.”
If you are in the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland your chances of a warranty replacement are even better. The Google Home and Mini come with a 2-year warranty which should make getting a replacement a lot easier if you bought yours after October of 2017. Again, contact the retailer if you didn’t get it directly from the Google Store. You can contact Google’s support here if you bought it from them.
If you’re out of warranty, you may have an uphill climb ahead of you. Initially, Google said that they would not replace out of warranty devices but forum threads and a report from Engadget tell a different tale. Unfortunately, it looks like the results are mixed and you will likely have to hound Google support before a replacement device, if any, is offered. You can jump into the support thread here to keep tabs on any updates from Google. We’ll keep our ear to the ground for anything official and hopefully, Google will get this mess squared away sooner than later.
// UPDATE October 24, 2019 //
At 1:18pm, Google has reached out to issue the following statement regarding the issue:
We are aware that a small number of Google Home and Google Home Mini devices are affected by an issue that causes the device to stop working. We have a fix that will prevent the issue from happening and will be rolling it out soon. We are replacing affected devices.