Chromageddon is upon us! The world woke up today to a world of silent Chromecast and Google Home devices. What the heck is going on??? How do we fix it???
Updated @ 2018-07-01 :Google still refuses to tell us what caused Chromageddon. But let’s see what we can dig out about this debacle.
Updated @ 2018-06-28 :Google just reported they have a fix! We added details on what we need to do to restore the affected devices, and an update on a bad firmware being the cause of Chromageddon.
Originally posted @ 2018-06-27
Chromageddon – The Day Chromecast + Home Died Worldwide
Chromageddon took down Chromecast and Google Home devices worldwide sometime in the evening of 26 June 2018 (US Pacific Time). Since then, they have all refused to obey their masters’ commands.
Users of Google Home were greeted with the dreaded “There was a glitch. Try again in a few seconds.” response to every command. No matter how long and hard they cajoled their Google devices, they stayed silent.
They were all still alive, still connected to the network, but functionally nothing more than space-heating paperweights.
It took Google more than 12 hours to fix the problem after they realised Chromageddon was real. The real tragedy though was the complete lack of communication with their users.
Sure, Google responded to messages on Twitter, but even when people alerted them to the issue, it took more than 12 hours before they realised something truly bad was happening. Even then, they did not inform their other customers who are probably spending hours trying to troubleshoot their non-functioning devices.
Needless to say, other than informing those who reported issues when a fix was available, they steadfastly refused to tell us WHY Chromageddon happened. I suppose Google expects us to trust them to learn something from this debacle…
What Devices Are Currently Affected? Updated!
For most part, they are almost all Google Chromecast 2 and Google Home devices, but here is the full list of devices reported to be affected by Chromageddon :
Google Chromecast (1st Gen)
Google Chromecast (2nd Gen)
Google Home mini
Surprisingly, both Google Chromecast Ultra or Chromecast Audio do not seem to be affected, although they are far less popular and their users have not yet realised the downtime.
How Do We Fix Chromecast + Home? Updated!
So far, all efforts to self-fix the problem have failed spectacularly :
Screaming futilely at the silent devices – Failed
Restarting Chromecast or Google Home – Failed
Rebooting the modem and/or router – Failed
Resetting Chromecast or Google Home to factory defaults – Failed
Asking Google tech support for help – Failed
Praying to the Google Gods – Failed
Although Google refuses to confirm, Chromageddon is most likely due to a problem with their servers. So when their servers have a hiccup, everything goes down. Google hinted at that with these tweets :
Our Engineering team is already on it. Hang in there — we’ll keep you updated.
There’s an ongoing issue with Chromecast and our team is already working on a fix ― we’ll keep you posted.
Our team is aware of this issue and working on a stable fix. Stay tuned.
At 6:18 AM (GMT+8) on the 28th of June, Google announced that they have a fix for Chromageddon that will automatically roll out over the next 6 hours. To get your Chromecast and Google Home running immediately, all you have to do is REBOOT them.
“We’ve identified a fix for the issue impacting Google Home users and it will be automatically rolled out over the next 6 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 there is a way to reboot your Google devices via the Google Home app, many people cannot actually get connected to the affected devices. So the simplest way to get them working again is to physically turn off power to those devices, and then turn them back on again.
Isn’t Chromageddon Due To A Firmware Update? Updated!
At first, everyone thought it might have been a firmware update that bricked the devices. Some even claimed that it only happened after their affected devices were updated.
However, many of those who could still connect to their Chromecast reported that they were still on the 1.29.104827 production firmware. That firmware is several months old, or it’s not possible for it to suddenly act up globally.
Some have reported that their Chromecast is on the 1.30.113131 preview firmware. That is only possible if they had specifically opted to participate in the Google Preview Program. Even so, this preview firmware was released in sometime in April 2018.
When Google announced a fix, and that all we needed to do was to reboot our devices, it confirmed our deduction that it was a server-related issue on their end. We can safely confirm that Chromageddon was NOT due to any firmware update.
What Chromageddon Teaches Us
We all know that personal assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo (Price Check) are always connected to cloud servers, and come with their fair share of privacy concerns. However, most of us are probably not aware that “dumb” video streaming devices like Chromecast connect to such servers as well.
Privacy concerns with devices “dialling home” are bad enough. Chromageddon is now proof of just how vulnerable such a system design can be, if these devices have to be connected to Google’s servers to even function.