Google Assistant Can’t Solve This Elementary Math Problem

A Google Nest hub with the number "28" on the screen
Josh Hendrickson

One of the more convenient aspects of modern life is digital assistants like Google Assistant. Need to know the weather? Just ask. How about a measurement conversion from cups to tablespoons? No problem. Easy math problem? Google Assistant can handle it. Unless you ask for this specific equation.

We haven’t tested this on every device imaginable, but we can reproduce it on Nest Hubs and some Android phones so far. Ask Google Assistant, “what’s 31 minus 12,” and it can’t do the math. On some Android phones, you’ll get the date followed by the answer. Others drop out to a white screen with no results at all.

But the best response comes from the Google Nest Hub (originally known as the Google Home Hub). On the device, Google Assistant will roll a die to give you a random number. Considering you’re asking for the solution to a math problem, a random number is as far from a helpful answer as possible.

What’s odd about that this particular bug is that it only works with this exact math equation: 31 - 12. Change either number in the equation, even by one, and it works correctly. Try it out while you still can, as Google will notice sooner or later and correct the problem. Just like it did with knock-knock jokes that led to a Nest Hello video doorbell feed.

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor and Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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