People are losing sleep after Google replaced ‘white noise’ sound on Nest speakers

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 18, 2022
Updated 2022/01/18 at 1:11 PM

In case you didn’t know, Google Assistant devices like the Nest Hub can play ambient sound with white noise to help you or your kids sleep. Yet, several users noticed that Google recently changed this to something that loops more often and has a muffled sound, according to 9to5Google. As a result, they and their babies are apparently losing sleep over it.

“White noise” is among the 14 ambient noises available in Google Assistant, along with “babbling stream”, “fireplace”, “ocean” and others. You can play them for up to 12 hours if not turned off by a sleep timer, and the Nest Hub 2nd Gen has an “auto-off” feature that turns off the sound when you fall asleep.

Previously, it repeated the White Noise sound every hour, but now the sound repeats every 10 minutes, something users find annoying and repetitive. Also, the previously crisp sound file is now seemingly “muffled” and quieter than before. “It’s a different tone, almost muffled,” said one user. “Very annoying you have to adjust the volume to 70%,” noted another.

There are at least 100 complaints on the same line, with many people saying they use white noise to get their babies or children to sleep. “I play every night for my daughter and she is very upset about this change,” said one. “Please let there be a way to retrieve the older version so we can keep our sleep schedule and sanity!”

Google may have altered the file to reduce data usage, as one Redditor said his Mini used about 4GB of data every night just playing Google’s ambient noises. Another acknowledged that this is a “first world problem” but shows how small changes in widely used technology can cause unintended problems. If you use the old sound and miss it, another Reddit user loaded the original to Google Drive, so you can, in theory, download it and stream to YouTube Music.

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