I’ve noted some quirks and edge cases that I’ve experienced with the Google Home ecosystem, and recorded the workarounds that I’ve found.

Missing Home & Away Routines

My home and away routines were missing in Google Home. Online advice was to either:

  • clear data or reinstall the Google Home app
  • set up a new household, and either use the new household or go back to the old household at some point
  • add a new (sometimes dummy) member to the household to trigger the setup

But in the end, the solution from this support thread is the one that actually worked for me:

  1. Delete all the household routines
  2. Go back to the Favorites screen in Google Home and tap on the the household name
  3. Instead of “Home” and “Away” choices, you should see a “Setup” button which will properly initiate the home and away routines, finally.

Nest Cameras

I currently have 3 nest cameras deployed around the perimeter of my house. Setting them up was largely straightforward, but there were a couple of minor hiccups, detailed below.

When and how to factory reset

When setup fails in the Google Home app (e.g. is stuck at “downloading update 59%”) or for whatever other reason, a factory reset may be necessary. To do this:

  1. Unplug the magnetic power cable from the camera (I think this made a difference)
  2. Find the button at the back of the camera, near where the magnetic mount is
  3. Press the button (you will feel a gentle click when it’s depressed far enough) and hold for 15 seconds
  4. The camera will play some tones for the countdown, and a final confirmation sound once the reset has been committed. You can let go of the button at this point.
  5. Try setting up the camera again via Google Home

Confused Between Charging vs. Plugged In

Ensure that the camera isn’t still stuck to a mounting plate when you bring it in for charging.

Plugging in the cable with the mount still attached will make the camera think that it’s in “plugged in and deployed” mode, which won’t show you the charge level or the estimated charging time remaining, and the status light won’t even pulse. Instead, it’ll just show an infinity symbol in Google Home when you look at the battery status.

Nest Hub Max

I have one of these monitoring the inside of my house. I’ve been impressed by how versatile it is as a living area digital hub, and some of its unique features are fun to play with.

Look and Talk Not Responding

Look and Talk is a special feature that allows use of Google Assistant voice commands on the Nest Hub Max just by looking at the screen, instead of having to say “Hey Google” every time. To enable it, navigate to:

Google Home > Settings > Google Assistant > Look and Talk

However, at first, this didn’t work for me. The symptoms I observed were:

  • the grey dots would appear when I looked at the screen
  • coloured moving dots would appear when I spoke
  • but the dots never started to spin and the command was never executed.

My research online indicated that it may only set itself up properly if the Google Assistant language is set to English (US) specifically. This was suggested by several separate sources. To change this setting, navigate to:

Google Home > Settings > Google Assistant > Manage all Assistant settings > Languages

If the current English variant is not English (US), tap on it to make it so, then restart the Nest Hub Max a few times until Look and Talk (hopefully) starts working. At this point, it seems like changing the English variant away from US is allowed, and Look and Talk should continue working.

I also observed some changes in the UI after this process, as if more features were unlocked when the language was set to English (US). Turns out, I was right! Turns out, I was only partly right.

More Features for Nest Hubs in the U.S.

I’ve confirmed that at least one feature, the App Launcher, is currently not available in countries other than the U.S.. This is disappointing, but in fixing the Look and Talk issue above, I inadvertently discovered that setting the Google Assistant language to English (US) makes the Nest Hub think that it’s in the U.S., thus enabling any region locked features.

Because of this, I decided against switching my Google Assistant language setting back to my country’s and kept it on English (US). However, this also comes with its own share of problems.

Even with my Assistant Language set to English (US), the App Launcher functionality inexplicably disappeared after a couple of days. I haven't missed it enough to figure out how to get it back.

Using Assistant in English (US), but Internationally

Setting the Google Assistant language to English (US) can fix certain issues and enable certain extra features (see Nest Hub Max). To do this, navigate to:

Google Home > Settings > Google Assistant > Manage all Assistant settings > Languages

…and tap on whatever English variant you have set up to change it to US.

Doing this results in these side effects (that I have discovered so far):

  1. Google Assistant will now speak to you in an American accent
  2. Weather-related functionality may now be presented in Fahrenheit rather than Celsius

These side effects can be fixed via configuration, if desired.

Choosing a Custom Assistant Voice

On this screen, a variety of voice options are presented by colour code:

Google Home > Settings > Google Assistant > Manage all Assistant settings > Assistant voice & sounds

The default seems to be Red which is a general American accent. I actually quite like it. For Australians, scroll to the far right and there will be an option called Sydney Harbour Blue, which sounds like the default Australian-accent Assistant voice that I was previously used to.

Forcing Assistant to Report Weather in Celsius

If Google Assistant is showing or speaking about weather information in the wrong units, it can be overridden on this screen:

Google Home > Settings > Google Assistant > Manage all Assistant settings > Weather

In my case, even though the radio button for Celsius was selected, I had to tap it again to fix Assistant’s behaviour. I’m surprised this actually worked.