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[Update: Fixed] ‘Can’t reach Google’ glitch breaks Assistant on Android, disables Smart Displays & speakers for some

Over the past week, a small subset of users have not been able to access Google Assistant on any of their devices. This Assistant glitch appears to be occurring at the Google Account level, with Smart Displays and speakers being the most severely impacted devices.

Update 12/25: As of the last few days, affected users have reported that Assistant is working again on all their accounts and devices. One person said they received a call from Google Nest where they were provided with a “code to tag feedback in.”

I attempted to bring the assistant up on those phones and when it failed I tagged the feedback with the code. Within minutes the accounts were each fixed and all my Home devices are properly working again.

For most, the problem was fixed automatically, but contacting Google Support directly might speed up the process.

Original 12/21: Launching Assistant on Android or the dedicated iOS app will return a “Can’t reach Google at the moment” message. Some users are able to have their voice query transcribed, while others encounter the error when the Assistant panel slides up.

Uninstalling updates to the Google app, which powers Assistant, and reinstalling does not solve the problem. If afflicted with this issue, all Android devices are impacted, including later Pixel phones (4+) with the new Google Assistant (NGA). It follows Google rolling out a new light bar redesign earlier this month.

On Smart Displays, this Google Assistant glitch has a much more severe impact as you can’t bypass the white boot screen with four endlessly spinning dots. This is not too different from what happens when Assistant smart devices drop Wi-Fi and revert to a lost connection page. Meanwhile, speakers respond with “Something went wrong” or “There is a glitch.” This means smart home accessories cannot be controlled and Routines cannot fire.

This issue affects both first and third-party devices, like the Nest Hub/Max, Google Home, JBL Link View, and Insignia alarm clock. Once you’re hit with this glitch, every Assistant instance — almost immediately — stops working. Resetting the hardware does not restore Assistant as the new device setup process fails inside the Google Home app. Users cannot move beyond the “Set up Google Assistant” screen as they get a “Problem connecting to cloud” error.

This suggests an underlying Google Account issue. One solution that has worked is signing in with another account, but that means losing tied subscriptions (YouTube Premium) and content (Google Play). There is one odd report that says Assistant on the new Chromecast with Google TV still works, albeit slowly, even as every other device fails.

Looking at Google Help Forum posts, Twitter, and Reddit today, compiled here, there are several dozen users encountering this Assistant glitch worldwide. Earlier today, a “Product Expert” in the Assistant forum wrote that the “Google support team is aware of this issue,” while Google Support chat says it has received similar reports and is “continuing to investigate.”

The problem appears to have arisen a few days after last Monday’s big outage to the Google account authentication system, but it’s unclear if that is related.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: