What did last week’s Chromecast/Home outage hint at?

While Google Home going down for many was strange, what’s really odd was that Google Chromecast also went down. Chromecasts had historically not been something you expected was connected to the internet for any sort of commands. Chromecasting was done with a local network discovery followed by the Chromecast going out to whatever video source and playing it.

TL;DR speculation from someone who probably missed a Google presentation on it

When Chromecast went down along with Google Home that got me wondering what was Chromecast doing checking in with a server for anything but updates. We’ve got a fairly good track history of Chromecast working, and we’ve sort of got to believe that some testing went into whatever deployment botched, so what’s the reasoning behind the Google Home and Chromecast simultaneous outage?


We now know that Chromecasts throughout the land are now at the mercy of a third party’s servers. Let me try and malicious that up a bit: your locally connected Chromecast is checking with Google for reasons other than a simple software update. This, I don’t think, is something we generally expect from a cast device, but beyond that it’s something that’s odd. Why is it checking elsewhere for data that can hold up local execution?

Lemme crease my tinfoil hat here for a second… ahhh, the singing of the dead has stopped… ok, so Chromecast and Home are connected on the same server cluster that had issues now. I don’t believe previously there was much beyond firmware updates and constantly pulling 2MB screens to display awesomely that was internet related (other than casting). Recently they added Weather. They also added something insidious.

OK, probably not insidious, but something that more connects Chromecast and the Google Assistant ecosystem.

Could we be looking at off-network cast ability? Google Home answering on a Chromecast device? Millions of murderous Mogwai stabbing people from Christmas trees?

I’m betting that failure was hinting at significantly tighter Google Home / Chromecast integration, and the misguided belief that Google’s servers will stay up functioning all the time. It was a craptacular day with both Google’s primary in-home flagships down for the count.

I’m wondering also if we’re having Chromecast check elsewhere for some data that can, evidently disable Chromecast, what new features we could be looking at. Probably a dashboard for whoever talked to the Google Home last.

That or something terrible… I’m betting on the smarter dashboard and some code that was not tested in a locked-up server environment.

So server’s responding, but not giving me the data I need? Let’s just wait… forever, or until a software update in 6 hours.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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2 thoughts on “What did last week’s Chromecast/Home outage hint at?

  • The removal of internet access for chromecasts to function would be a step forward, I’m not sure why they don’t have it enabled already…

    • I honestly thought they did have the ability to cast without gateway (using an internal server) – now I’m going to have to check that.


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