Google Home is Google’s own answer to Amazon Echo, but it unfortunately still suffers from some of the same problems as its competitor. It’s a beautiful, smart home hub and even a great personal assistant when it works, but when it doesn’t, it’s an expensive paperweight that doesn’t do more than looking nice on your desk.
Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Amazon Echo
If you’re a Google Home owner, you’ve probably run into a few already. Even if you haven’t, going over what problems can happen will help you fix them whey finally do or help you prevent them before they start. Between Google Home not picking up your voice, or it mishearing you when you’re right in front of it; here’s how to fix everything.
1. Google Home Won’t Respond to Your Voice
I decided to start with the biggest problem Google Home has, and that’s the device not responding when you try talking to it. A personal assistant that gives you the silent treatment isn’t very useful to anyone, so let’s look at how to fix it.
Each of these won’t take more than a few minutes at most, so when Google Home doesn’t respond:
- Press the microphone mute button to see if Google Home was muted accidentally.
- Unplug Google Home before waiting at least a minute to plug it back in.
- Gently blow on both black dots on the top of Google Home, and then wipe the top with a soft and dry
- Perform a factory reset by pressing and holding the microphone mute button for 15 seconds until you hear the confirmation from Google Assistant. A factory reset will clear all personal data from Google Home.
If all else fails, please contact Google’s call center for additional help.
2. Google Home Won’t Connect to Wi-Fi
Google Home does most if not all of its communication with other smart devices over Wi-Fi. Thankfully, whether your connection only drops occasionally, won’t connect at all, or is just generally spotty; it’s still fixable.
If you think the problem is with your network, try:
- Resetting your router and/or modem by turning them on and off again.
- Renaming your Wi-Fi network.
- Changing the password to your network, or getting rid of the password only temporarily.
- Connecting Google Home to a different network.
- Disconnecting other devices from your network to see if they’re interfering with Google Home’s connection.
If you think the problem is with Google Home, try:
- Resetting Google Home by unplugging it and plugging it back in again.
- Moving Google Home to a different location in the house, preferably closer to your router.
- Factory resetting Google Home by pressing and holding the microphone mute button for 15 seconds, and then doing the first time setup again. A factory reset will clear all personal data from Google Home.
If you still can’t resolve the problem, all you can do is wait for an update, or contact the call center.
3. The Google Home App isn’t Working
The Google Home app is one of the best ways to communicate with Google Home aside from your voice, so it’s important that it’s always running ship shape. Before you start troubleshooting the app, make sure it’s up to date first. It’s possible a new update came out even while you’re reading this.
Once you’ve made sure your app is up to date, the next step is to uninstall it before reinstalling it again. If this doesn’t clear anything up, try closing any power-intensive apps while you have the Google Home app running.
If you’re still experiencing problems, it’s either your Android having the problem, or the app itself hasn’t gotten the fix it needs yet. For the former, look at apps and files you’ve downloaded recently. Have you experienced any problems with these in the past few days? If so, take a look at our troubleshooting steps to get to the root of the problem.
For the latter, all you can really do is wait for an update that fixes your specific problem. It’s unfortunate and is just another common problem with Google Home that needs to be worked on as soon as possible for the users it affects.
4. Your Address in Google Home isn’t Correct
Your address is used for multiple Google Home commands, so it’s important that your device gets it right. Hearing the weather for Toronto doesn’t do you much good if you want to know if you need an umbrella today in Richmond.
To set, or fix your address, go to your settings in your Google Home app.
In the top left corner of the screen, press the button there and choose More Settings. From there, please Google Account Settings, Personal info, and then Home & work locations. Now change any address you see to the correct ones to fix the problem.
5. Google Home Only Accepts One Google Account
While this is a pretty big problem, it isn’t an error. Unfortunately, you can’t use more than one Google account with Google Home. This isn’t a big problem for every Google Home owner, but if you have multiple people using the same Google Home device, all of them will have to share the same account.
Hopefully this changes in the future, but for now, only one Google account can be tied to Google Home at a time.
6. Google Home’s Touchpad Stopped Working
Google Home’s touchpad is very subdued. The only way you’d notice it is in the right light, or if you ran a finger across it at random. It’s easy to use to control volume and other aspects right from the device quickly, well, except when it isn’t working.
There aren’t that many ways to fix a rogue touchpad, but I know of a few. From the top of the list to the bottom, try:
- Unplugging Google Home and letting it sit for a minute before turning it on again.
- Wiping the top of Google Home with a soft and dry
- Plugging Google Home into a different power source, or a different outlet in the house.
- Update Google Home through the Google Home app if you haven’t already.
If none of these clear up the problem, the only thing left to do aside from either living with the issue, or returning Google Home for a new one is a factory reset.
To factory reset your Google Home, press and hold the microphone mute button on your Google Home for at least 15 seconds.
If your volume is turned on, you’ll hear a confirmation. Otherwise, hold the button for at least 30 seconds to ensure the reset process starts.
7. Both Your Android and Google Home Respond at the Same Time
One difference between Google Home and Amazon Echo is that on Google Home you can only use specific wake commands, instead of being able to set your own. Unfortunately, this means if you say “OK Google” both your Android and Google Home will respond if able.
An easy and the only, way to fix this is to use one of the two other preset wake commands for Google Home. Instead of starting a command with “OK Google” use “Hey Google” or “Hi Google” to get your point across. This lets Google Home know that you’re speaking to it, and your Android will stay quiet.
8. Google Home Suddenly Stops Playing Music
This sadly isn’t a problem that has a concrete fix yet, but the root of the issue has at least been uncovered. During audio playback, Google Home will sometimes disconnect from Wi-Fi for a second, making playback stop completely. If you ask Google Home to resume playback, it tells you that you weren’t playing anything in the first place.
Google Home isn’t trying to be sassy with you, it’s just dropping your connection before picking it back up again. Sadly, all you can do is to try to follow the steps I outlined in #2 of this list, and then ask Google Home to play the audio again.
9. Google Will Randomly Respond Even When Not Asked a Question
If your Google Home suddenly speaks up even though you haven’t asked anything, it’s not because there’s a ghost in the house that wants to know the weather, but because something in the room is making excess noise near Google Home’s microphone.
If you have Google Home positioned near a window, or a speaker, move it somewhere else, so it won’t confuse something else for your voice.
10. Google Home Responds but Won’t Answer Questions
If you’ve ever asked Google Home a question and it tells you that it can’t find the answer, that seems more than a little suspect. Google Home might not know everything, but if Google can find the answer, so should Google Home. In most cases, a quick reset where you unplug and plug Goole Home back in fixes this issue.
If it persists, disconnect your Google Home from Wi-Fi for a few minutes before reconnecting it. When Google Home connects again, it’ll be able to answer questions effectively.
11. Google Home Replays Almost Nothing but Static in Transcripts
I mentioned blowing on the microphone before with another problem, and doing it again here helps more than you might think. If you can see the two dots on top of Google Home, gently blow on both of them to help clear them of any dust or residue that’s messing with the microphone.
If this doesn’t fix the problem, you could have a hardware issue on your hands that only Google support can help you with.
I think that Google Home is a great device, even if it has a few common problems among owners. It’s an alternative to Amazon Alexa that works with your smart devices that helps make your home feel a little bit smarter and much more convenient.
If you have any problems with Google Home and need help, please leave a comment below so we can point you in the right direction.