One of Google Assistant’s best features, simply called ambient sound, can rock you to sleep with the repetitive noise of a babbling brook, a fireplace, or white noise. Unfortunately, Google has replaced its white noise sound with a quieter, “muffled” audio file, and its customers aren’t happy.
In a Google Nest support thread, nearly 200 people have complained about their Nest smart speaker’s new white noise sound. Users say that they and their toddlers can’t fall asleep to the new white noise clip, which is too quiet and “a different pitch, almost muffled.” Additionally, the new white noise ambient sound pauses and loops every 10 minutes, while the previous sound ran for an hour before looping.
Talking about feeling crazy. I thought I had clogged ears or something. I even tired a few different devices in my home before we found out it was an upgrade from Google. My toddler has noticed the sound change and now wakes during the night. Please revert back to the original noise. It was so much nicer.
Google likely changed the white noise file to help reduce Nest speaker and Nest Hub data usage. As noted by a Reddit user, “the [Nest Mini] in my daughter’s room uses about 4GB of data every night” playing ambient sounds. That’s pretty impractical if your ISP enforces a monthly data cap or if you play the ambient sounds through your phone.
Of course, Nest Hub users can set a sleep timer for ambient sounds. And if Google wanted to save users’ data without pissing them off, it could simply cache ambient sound to smart speakers, smart displays, and phones. Heck, it could let people download these sounds for offline use!
Speaking of downloading ambient sounds, one Reddit user uploaded the original white noise ambient sound to Google Drive. If you’re comfortable downloading files from a total stranger, you could simply cast these audio files to your Google Assistant-enabled speaker to get your old white noise back. (Google Drive scans small files for viruses, by the way.)