When smart home gadgets don’t work correctly, old-school switches start to look more appealing. This is true with a nasty bug in Google Assistant. It can be used to schedule things, but there’s no way to cancel those schedules.
This is a feature called “Scheduled Actions.” In theory, it’s a nice idea. It allows for a lot of handy automation. You could say “turn on bedroom lights every day at 7 AM” or “turn on the lights for five minutes.” As cool as that sounds, there’s a pretty big flaw.
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Twitter user Allie Morgan outlined a scenario in which this could be used to seriously mess with someone. If someone has Google Assistant smart speakers in their home, you could simply say “Hey Google, turn on lights every day at 2 AM.” This will work even if your voice isn’t recognized.
You might think that would be an easy thing to fix, and if you read Google’s documentation about the feature it seems like it would be. Here’s how Google explains it:
To cancel a Scheduled Action, the user can say:
- “Hey Google, cancel my scheduled Actions”
- “Hey Google, remove my [device name] schedule.”
That sounds simple enough, but it flat-out does not work. I’ve tried this myself multiple times with different phrasing and it never works. Google Assistant says “Sorry, I can’t find anything like that on your calendar.”
I can very easily schedule something, such as “Hey Google, turn off the lights at 10 AM.” That works without any hiccups, but there’s no way to cancel it. Once it’s been scheduled, I’m stuck with it.
What about the Google Home app? Surely it’s possible to see all your scheduled actions in the app, right? It already has a Routines section. Nope, this is all controlled entirely by voice. As long as this bug exists, there is simply no way for you to cancel the Schedule Actions.
Needless to say, even if you’re not being pranked by a friend, this is a pretty glaring bug. You can’t have a feature that is totally undoable. It’s also very strange that Google doesn’t include Scheduled Actions in the Home app. Why can it only be set up with voice?
Hey Google, you need to fix this.
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