Google Addresses Smart Speaker Bluetooth Bug After a Year of Complaints
Google is publicly addressing a bug that has plagued Google Home devices for a year. Many Google Home and Nest smart speakers and displays regularly drop their Bluetooth connection for no discernable reason. While not a universal issue, it’s notable how long it took for Google to acknowledge that it’s a systemic issue.
We’re sorry for the trouble! Our team is already aware of this and we’re working on a fix, we’ll bubble this up to our team and check back in once we have an update. Hang tight!
— Google Nest (@googlenest) February 14, 2020
Google Home device owners first started reporting the issue on Google’s support forum starting in late 2018, according to an Android Police report. A Google Nest or Nest Mini smart speaker will play music for a few minutes then abruptly disconnect. The problem happens when the devices connect to other speakers as well. There are hundreds of comments about this happening on the support forums, but it was only in February that Google said anything about it. The Google Nest Twitter account shared an apology, while the company posted on the forum to apologize and commiserate with those dealing with the bug.
“Apologize [sic] for the delayed response here. I know how annoying and challenging it can be,” the community specialist wrote. “The team is aware of the issue and working on finding a solution.”
Google hasn’t laid out a timeline for when the problem will be solved or what the specific problem is. The fact that it took so long for the company to comment on it is potentially more problematic, however. The very angry responses to the forum post indicate some fans of Google’s smart home setup may not stick with the Google Assistant-powered ecosystem in the future.
Google’s Smart Home Strategy
Even if some or most of those who are dealing with this bug don’t actually switch to Amazon, Apple, or another rival for their future smart speaker systems, Google will want to get past this bug as quickly as possible. It’s not just about current Google smart speaker owners, but about every device with Google Assistant.
The company’s goal is to add Google Assistant and Nest products to every part of people’s lives. That’s why it developed the Nest Wifi router with Google Assistant built-in, and why the lower-cost Google Home Mini is being given away through partnerships with companies like Booking.com. Integrating SiriusXM and adding a feature to let users transfer audio and video between smart devices doesn’t mean much if the Bluetooth connection falls apart. Having at least one Google Nest device may make it easier to keep adding other smart home devices supported by Google, but if people don’t feel like the some of the basic functions are reliable, they may find the motivation to switch.