Now that we’re all working and playing at home, the internet is starting to buckle. Services are failing left and right, and it’s because everyone is using the internet at once. To help lighten the load, Google announced it would downgrade the quality of Nest streams and Chromecast’s Ambient Mode. You can turn the Nest quality back up, but settling for less may help everyone.
Google announced the change in an email to users, and followed up with a statement to TechCrunch explaining:
To answer the global call to prioritize internet bandwidth for learning and working, in the next few days we’re going to be making a few changes. We believe these changes have the potential to help make it easier for communities to keep up with school, work, and everything in between.
Google also updated its Chromecast support pages to notify users of the company’s plans. In that post, it stated most users likely wouldn’t notice a difference in quality since Ambient Mode uses static images. But it follows similar a similar move Google made when it defaulted YouTube to 720p streams.
Considering Nest was down for hours earlier this month, the change makes sense. Even large companies are struggling to keep up with the increased demands on the internet while we all stay at home.
The switch will be automatic, and you’ll likely suddenly notice the quality on your Nest streams have dropped. You can go into your Nest settings and re-enable higher quality, but it’s unclear if you can do the same with Chromecast.