(Last Updated On: January 29, 2020)

You can prevent it by avoiding the Preview Program for now.

Your Google Home may be at risk of being bricked {From: Jonas Leupe, unsplash.com)
Your Google Home may be at risk of being bricked {From: Jonas Leupe, unsplash.com)

Reports have been surfacing about a certain firmware update bricking some users’ Google Home smart speaker, effectively rendering them useless. Fortunately, there’s a way to avoid it.

The complaints began when users on Reddit and Google’s support forum reported that their Google Home units stopped turning on and would only display an orange LED after updating to the latest firmware.

As it turns out, what these users have in common are owning a first-generation Google Home model and being part of Google’s Program Preview. Unfortunately for them, simply resetting the device or performing a full factory reset didn’t alleviate the problem.

Not Just Another Beta Firmware Issue

While it’s normal to get bad firmware on beta platforms every now and then, Android Police points out that Google doesn’t distribute beta software in its Preview Program. Users who are part of the program simply get the final builds earlier than the general public.

“Our intention is that Preview Program updates will be of the same quality as production version updates. You’re simply getting earlier access to new features before they’re released broadly,” states Google support page.
Stick to the consumer-ready updates to keep your Google Home safe
Stick to the consumer-ready updates to keep your Google Home safe (From: Thomas Kolnowski, unsplash.com)

Google has yet to offer a solution or quick fix to the problem as of writing, so those on the Preview Program are advised to avoid using their Google Home in the meantime in order to prevent an automatic update from bricking their smart speaker.

Not the First Time, Maybe Not the Last

This isn’t the first time Google dished out faulty software to unsuspecting users. A few months ago, numerous Home units were also affected by half-baked firmware, causing devices to die on their owners. However, this instance seems specific toward only those with the original Home smart speaker and on the Preview Program.

However, this instance seems specific toward only those with the original Home smart speaker and on the Preview Program.

In the past, Google offered to replace Home units that wouldn’t turn on at all after receiving a seemingly stable yet glitchy firmware update. Considering this is a more isolated case, it’s uncertain if the search giant will offer a replacement program. Additionally, the original Google Home was released a little over three years ago, making it ancient in tech years.

Since we’re dealing with a Program Preview update that might eventually end up in the units of all users, Google must iron out all the kinks before more Home users are affected.