On Wednesday, Google Home and Chromecast devices around the world experienced an unnerving issue for roughly five hours. The company has since released a fix, but not before thoroughly weirding out users.
Beginning in the morning, the virtual assistant would reply to every command with either “sorry, something went wrong” or “there was a glitch,” so immediately after hearing a voice command that it felt like Google Home was interrupting its human master. This reply was followed with an instruction to “try again in a few seconds,” but every time users tried said “okay, Google” or “hey, Google,” the device would repeat its apology. It was like being stuck in a feedback loop.
Chromecast, Google’s streaming dongle that enables users to cast video from their laptop or their phone to any screen with an HDMI port, also went completely offline for the duration of this mysterious “glitch.”
A stream of users took to Twitter to report their creepy interaction with Google Home and the state of their digital media player. The company initially responded with, “We’re sorry to hear some of our users are experiencing issues with their Google Home and Chromecast. We’re on it. Stay tuned for updates.”
Hours later Google advised everyone who was experiencing the hiccup to reboot their devices. On Thursday, Google sent out an email (subject line: “What happened yesterday”) that stated the bizarre bug was due to a “backend glitch” but did not elaborate further:
We found a glitch with one of our backend systems and spent the day working hard to get everyone back up and running. It’s frustrating when technology doesn’t work the way it should, especially when you’re depending on it. We’re sorry that this happened.
People first caught wind of this issue when they woke up late for work because their Google Home failed to set off their scheduled alarms.
The malfunction came only a day after Home speakers were updated with software that allowed users to speak to the devices in Spanish.
The company is also in the middle of rolling out its “Continued Conversation” feature. This will keep the assistant’s microphone active for eight seconds after a command, so you can ask multiple queries without having to repeat the wake word.
It’s unclear whether these patches were the cause of the glitch. Let’s just hope our Google Homes go back to telling us what the weather is like and stops creeping us out.