Google Assistant will finally stop responding to you when you ask it to turn off lights

Google Home with blue lighting behind it
Google Home with blue lighting behind it (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Google Assistant will now respond with just a chime when you ask it to switch off the lights.
  • In addition to lights, the change will apply for switches and plugs identified as lights.
  • It might take some time for the feature to be rolled out to all users.

Google has begun rolling out a new feature for its Google Home and Nest Hub devices that will make it a lot less annoying to use the Assistant to turn off the lights. You will no longer the Google Assistant's voice when you ask it to turn off your lights. Instead, it will simply respond with a 'chime' to let you know that it is going to turn off the lights.

If you own a Google Home and have smart lights installed, you may be familiar with the following scenario:

You, about to fall asleep: "Ok Google, turn off the bedroom lights." Google Home responds, a bit louder than you'd like: "Ok, turning off 2 lights". You, now wide awake, but at least the lights are off.

However, it is important to note that this change will work only when you have your Google Home or Nest Hub device in the same room as the smart home lights. Apart from smart lights, it will also work for any switches or plugs that are identified as lights. This means if you have a desk lamp connected to a smart plug that is named "desk lamp", Google Assistant will only respond with a chime when you ask it to turn off the plug. On the other hand, if the plug is called "desk", you will hear a full response from Google Assistant.

Fortunately, the change also applies to other light commands such as increasing the brightness, dimming the lights, and more. Google says the feature is currently being rolled out but it might take some time before it becomes available for everyone.

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Babu Mohan
News Writer
  • I wish it would stop asking if I want to reply to a broadcast message
  • I wish It would stop telling me that my lights are not 'set up' when they are... Kinda difficult to turn off a light when it keeps telling you it doesn't exist...
  • Also that second to last paragraph is confusing. "if you have a desk lamp connected to a smart plug that is named "desk lamp", GA will only respond with a chime when you ask to turn off the plug. But if you called it "desk" it will do a full response"... Why is that? If I tell it to "Turn off desk" why would it do a full response? It wouldn't be any different than me telling it to 'turn off desk lamp' if the plug was called "Desk Lamp".
  • Because turning off 'desk' may not necessarily mean you want quiet or that your going away. Lowering lights tends to be associated with lowering volume. Turning off the fan that may be on your desk, not so much. Right now Google is making an assumption about the action you're taking. It doesn't want to be overly broad, so its limiting it to the one situation that is a majority of the time, a safe assumption to make.
  • i am just learning on this cool feature also and found that it also works by saying turn/off the room that they are in that is if you want them reacting simultaneously e.g hey "google turn on the living room"
  • i named a floor heater bright light just so it would have the identity as a light/lamp involved and
    just saying turn on/off bright w/o light worked fine for me
  • I've been wanting this for a long time, but to put a restriction on a listing device that has to be in the same room as the lights is asinine. It's probably due to the delusion of Google that every room should have it's own listing device. Give me the feature, but also give options on how to use it. Stop trying to do my thinking for me! Also how about allowing alarms and timers to be set on any device, and be alerted on any device in the same home.
    And please let me call it by a name other than 'Google' you narcissistic douchebags!
  • I understand the first restriction. If you're in the same room as the device, its obvious that the command was heard because you have visual confirmation. If you're not in that room and possibly don't hear the chime, you are now confused as to whether the lights are off or if Google Assistant didn't hear you. The chime is acceptable because there's absolute visual confirmation, so a sound that isn't as likely to be heard is a good replacement for a long sentence. I'm all on board about the alarms/timers deal though. I didn't even know that was a thing at first and wondering why alarms weren't working. All that happened was one light would be on the Google Home (a mini in my case) and I'd have to ask it what my notifications are and then it'd tell me about the reminder i set from elsewhere. This is not useful design because it's not reasonable to assume that a (non-obtrusive by design) small light turns on that you'll see it immediately.
  • Again, trying to do my thinking for me. Who's to assume I can't see the lights in another room from the room I'm in? How about no sound at all, just do the thing. I do like the 'I'm listening' / 'I'm not listening' chimes, and most importantly, the OPTION to turn the feature on or off. I really don't get the 'rooms' concept and it makes me want to set up all the devices in my house into one 'room'. I get the idea of grouping devices to all respond to the same command, but let me choose what items are grouped like they do with speaker groups for music services.
  • I mainly use alexa but I also have three google assistants as a backup. one of the problems with gh is it is too wordy when you gave commands. I like the way the echos does it. you have a choice, either it will say okay or it will ding depending on the settings. I am glad google is about to stop all the wordiness even if it is limited. Now if they would just give users a choice of wake up names.
  • i haven't tried it in awhile, but i hated making reminders on google home. If it didn't recognize my voice as me, it'd give me a whole long speech about how to go to settings and make sure voice recognition is setup properly. Telling me the first time was enough. Telling me every single time is too much. Hell, give me an option to "Say stop telling me this if you'd like to not hear this instruction again." This is one of the things I hate about Google and automating all their settings. I know that your 'commute' is supposed to be just known by Google after awhile and its smart enough, but it still assume my commute is a route i think i've taken once or twice. It just defaults to the first option that's given if you just pop it into a generic user's google maps. I wish i could set my commute manually because as it stands, its wrong when i ask it how long is my commute. It's wrong if i ask if there's traffic on my commute. I have to look at google maps and specifically at the streets i want to take. Hell, Google Navigation doesn't even offer it while driving and I'm approaching it.
  • Aaaah, the simplicity and efficiency of an old fashion light switch. I love mine, works every time as programmed.
  • Efficient? I have to get up and actually move something. With smart devices, you don't have to move from where you are. *That* is efficient. You're referring to reliability. They're not the same thing.
  • I think you're confusing effecient/reliable with lazy. Don't get me wrong, I like gadgets, but when you start complaining about how hard or difficult it is to program something to doing that actually is easily done by flipping a switch...that is hilarious!
  • How is it 'lazy' to want to continue doing something without stopping to turn on a light? Less is more = efficiency.
  • You missed my point, if you read all comments on this thread as well other threads, you will see that GA or whatever you use isn't developed enough yet to do what everyone is wanting and they're griping about it, they know it but still complain. Use it for what it can do and for the rest, flip the silly switch yourself. In the meantime, I'll sit over here and enjoy the show, it's quite entertaining.
  • I forgot to mention, less does NOT = effecient if it doesn't work.
  • I noticed this two days ago and I miss the old responses.
  • I noticed this last night and just assumed something was broken. Sort of how it'll tell me it can't communicate with the lights but the lights turned on anyway. I figured oh, well, the command went through at least.
  • I got the update on my regular home and minis. I like hearing that beep instead of the voice confirmation.
  • I don't have any GA connected lights and the like, but if that system works just like it is depicted on the commercials, all it really needs to do is beep to show it understood the command, because, by the time you realize it misunderstood your command, it is too late to stop it anyway.
  • Well, there are two different "misunderstood" scenarios that are important to differentiate for the user. There's the "I heard you, but thought you said x instead of y." This covers both, "I heard you tell me to turn on the basement lights instead of the bathroom lights" and the "I heard you call me, but i have no idea what you said." Then there's the "I didn't even hear you say my name so I'm not even going to respond." It's important to have vocal responses for the first scenario because you want to know why the thing you asked for isn't happening. This is why the chime is only associated with lights in the same room as the device. You might not hear the chime. Did the assistant hear you? :shrug: Who knows. You either have to ask again and listen better or go check the lights yourself. If they're in the same room, the chime is barely required (but still required) because you have visual confirmation of what you expected to happen. The chime is needed because you want to be able to troubleshoot the scenario of "Google Home heard you, it sent the command to the device, and Google did *not* receive an error response, but your lights are still on." This is a rare scenario, so a quiet-might-be-missed chime as opposed to full voice confirmation is acceptable to assist in troubleshooting, because its a small set of events that would have Google thinking everything is hunky dory and the endpoint device still erroring.
  • Is proofreading no longer a thing?