Google Home and Chromecast suffer massive global outage

28 Jun 2018

Google Home app. Image: Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock

Google’s social media channels have been flooded with complaints from disgruntled users.

It wasn’t only Slack that went AWOL yesterday (27 June), as Google Home smart speakers and Chromecast devices suffered a massive outage that went on for approximately 12 hours.

According to a variety of media reports and customer testimonies, millions of Google Home and Home Mini devices requested users to “try again in a few seconds”, which eventually stretched to almost an entire day.

A great deal of Google’s early responses to the glitch queried whether customers had incorrectly set up their devices, but the company quickly began working on a fix when the true extent of the issue was made clear.

Apology from Google

In its official statement, Google did not outline a reason for the outage, but it said: “We’ve identified a fix for the issue impacting Google Home and Chromecast users and it will be automatically rolled out over the next six hours. If you would like an immediate fix, please follow the directions to reboot your device.

“If you’re still experiencing an issue after rebooting, contact us at Google Home Support. We are really sorry for the inconvenience and are taking steps to prevent this issue from happening in the future.”

While no official line has been released explaining the fault, one Redditor speculated that a recent update to add Spanish to the devices may have caused the problem. Another Twitter user suggested that a recent privacy update caused the issue. TechCrunch understands that the outage was caused by a problem with one of the back-end systems that supports the devices.

Not the first problem this year

This is not the first issue Google Home and Chromecast devices encountered this year. Just a few days ago, an authentication weakness that leaked user location data from these devices was made public by security researcher Craig Young.

Young also noted that security issues in IoT devices were by no means confined to Google products, and recommended segmenting home networks if you use these devices.

In January, Google Home and Chromecast also suffered some connectivity issues. The Cast feature on the devices caused them to broadcast an unmanageable amount of data packets in a short space of time, bricking routers and requiring users to reboot.

Google Home app. Image: Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects