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Smart Home

4 common issues with Google Home and how to fix them

Google Home is a great way to add voice control to the Chromecast devices scattered around your house. But it's not always sunshine and rainbows.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

With a Google Home ($129 at Dell Home) speaker, you can throw your favorite YouTube videos or Netflix shows to your television, stream your favorite music or listen to the news or to podcasts. You can control the smart devices around your house or, with a little workaround, have Google Home speak notifications from your phone.

After the initial setup is finished, the Google Home is generally a hands-off device that requires very little maintenance or tweaking of settings. However, things can sometimes go awry.

If you're facing one of the few issues with a Google Home, here's what you can do to fix it.

Connectivity issues

In a house filled with connected gadgets, connectivity issues can and will arise. If you're facing some connection problems with your Google Home, you should first power cycle the speaker itself, as well as the modem and router.

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Ian Knighton/CNET

Also, try rebooting the Google Home speaker. You can do this by simply removing the power cable for a few seconds and plugging it back in. Or you can restart Google Home speakers in the Google Home app by going to Devices and tap the Settings button (three vertical dots in the upper right of the device card) for the device you want to reboot. Tap More and select Reboot

If the problem persists, consider moving Google Home closer to the router. If Google Home isn't the only device experiencing connection issues, the problem may be fixed by moving the router to a more centralized location.

To relieve some of the congestion, you can also try connecting the Google Home to a 5GHz wireless network instead of 2.4GHz. The 5GHz channel should be less congested with less interference.

Google Home not responding

There are a couple reasons why you might have trouble activating Google Home with your voice. For instance, if the speaker is placed near noisy appliances or obstructions, these objects and the noises they put off might interfere with the mic array in the Google Home. If they bring the ambient noise level in the room up too high, you may have to speak louder than normal to activate the speaker.

When this is the case, the best option is to move the Google Home speaker away from those obstructions, the wall and other devices.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Next, make sure the mic is not switched off. The mute button for the mic is on the back of the speaker. If the microphone is off, four yellow lights will appear on the light ring on the Google Home.

Performing a hardware reboot may also fix any glitchy behavior, so pull the plug and let the Google Home speaker power back on.

A larger issue where the speaker does not respond to voice input has been addressed in the Google Home Help Forums. If you've tried all the above fixes to no avail, go to myactivity.google.com and locate and listen to several of the voice recordings. If you hear static or anything other than relatively clean recordings of your requests, try performing a factory data reset.

If that doesn't help, contact the Google Home Support Team for further assistance.

Incorrect home location

Many of the Google Home requests -- like weather or traffic updates -- require location data to give you accurate results. If your home or work addresses are not set correctly, the weather or other information Google Home provides will be inaccurate or unhelpful.

To set your home and work locations:

  • Open the Google Home app on your iOS or Android device.
  • Tap the hamburger button in the top left of the app.
  • Select More settings.
  • Scroll to the bottom and select Personal info under Google Account settings.
  • Tap Home & work locations.
  • Enter your home address and tap OK.
  • Optionally, enter your work address and tap OK.

'OK Google' also wakes your phone

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Saying "OK Google" might wake up your Android phone and your Google Home speaker.

James Martin/CNET

If you have an Android device with "OK Google" detection turned on, you may notice that saying "OK Google" in the presence of your Google Home will wake both the speaker and your phone.

It's only a minor issue since only one device -- the Google Home -- will respond. But there's no way to change the wake words for the Google Home speaker or Google Assistant on your phone. As of right now, there is also no way to have your phone respond instead of Google Home.

If you want the phone to respond instead, the best option is to walk out of the Google Home's listening range.

Good morning routine doesn't play the weather

You might have gotten into the habit of waking up and saying, "OK, Google, good morning." This will run the Good Morning routine (that's now set up by default) or a roundup of all the things you care about — your upcoming calendar events and reminders, traffic and weather. After that, it can go straight into playing a podcast, music, radio, news, audiobooks and more. 

However, lately, there has been an issue with weather playing in your My Day. Google is aware of this issue and is currently working on a fix.

If you say "Good morning" to Google Home and the weather doesn't play, there are a couple things you can try:

  • Open the Google Home app and go to Settings > Routines > Good morning and make sure Tell me about the weather is checked.
  • Open the Google Home app and go to Settings > Personal Info > Home & work locations and make sure you have an address set for Home and that it's the correct address.

Unfortunately, if neither of those work, your best bet is to simply ask for the weather separately.

First published Jan. 3, 2017 at 7:25 p.m. PT.
Update April 9, 2018 at 3:33 p.m. PT: Refreshed with new details, including a common issue with the Routines feature.

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