Screenly shows black screen only with google docs


Since a couple of days my screenly is showing a black screen for google presentations the time it should present the doc. I can open and view the google doc on another PC so publishing should be OK.
When activating other assets (clock, weather,…) everything shows up on the screen and works fine. The moment it should start playing the google docs, it shows a black screen as if it can not show the doc.

The journalctl shows only normal behaviour:

nov 11 16:33:17 RASPI-SECRET python[725]: Starting new HTTPS connection (1):
nov 11 16:33:18 RASPI-SECRET python[725]: "HEAD /presentation/d/e/2PACX-1vTZCq-5KvXwtLUQQ9ajQRbva-ruNrMTJ_6gk…

I upgraded screenly to the latest production version and also upgraded the system.
Somebody who knows what else to try?


Hi Jonas,

We started to experience the same thing here. We’ve been using Google Slides for several years without issue and now all of a sudden they’ve turned to black screen. I’ve also tried the same steps as you have, upgraded to the latest release etc. but no luck.


Funny, this forum seemed dead and I was about to wake it making a post about this exact matter. By the time it took to register the account 2 threads with the same error appeared.

I have been troubleshooting this all day with no luck.

Started off with unsupported browser message.
After update screen only goes black when presenting Google slides.
Other web pages and widgets work as expected.

Could this be the work of Google trying to offload their servers?

Yes, I have a strong feeling that it is something that Google has changed recently. It would be fantastic if someone actively involved in the Screenly OSE dev team is aware of this and there is a fix on the horizon!

Same problem in our school. Tried to fix the issue too, with no more luck.
We will work with minimal service with PNG or JPG until a fix is found.

Kind regards,


Same here. Hoping that the dev team are aware of the issue, currently using JPG/PNG as a work around.

Same here. A 4-minute Google Presentation has become 4 minutes of black screen. My workaround is to export my Google Presentation (Slides) as PowerPoint (pptx) I then open the file in PowerPoint and export as video. The video plays back as expected in my several Screenly OSE Raspberry Pi (s). Disadvantages: i) the edges of the slides have been cropped a bit, causing some odd alignments and some loss of meaningful text. ii) changing the content of a single slide becomes a 30+ minute process.

SUCCESS! - My Google Slides are behaving normally after a fresh install of the OSE download labeled ‘2020-07-17-Screenly OSE’. Running version = production@d12df55 (from the ‘settings’ screen)

Okay, I know nothing! One of my other Raspberry Pi’s, running Screenly OSE from ~2017/18/19(?) started working again, on its own. That is, it started showing my Google Slides / Presentation. It has been running for years. Recently, it was showing a black screen in place of the slides, but then it started showing them as normal. I can’t explain it.

Indeed, I tested yesterday and it works again. I did have to remove the asset and added it again…

We have this same issue, I’m going to try one pi3+ on a fresh install of latest release. The other Pi I’ll try running it with the 2020-07-17-Screenly OSE mentioned by oakie22 above. I’ll report back what my test finds.

Since a few days we’ve seen the same error with Google docs as reported in this thread.

We had the problem in november so this is the second time.

We use work around mentioned above now.

Please help.

We came back from the weekend to the same issue. Tried reimaging to the same version(2019-09-25) and ran updates, to no avail. Running an upgrade to the OS itself via SSH now to see if that fixes it, and will try the 2020-07-17 version if it does not.

We tinkered around with it a bit, and managed to get it to show a “Browser Unsupported” error message on the google slide in question.

Ours stopped working a few weeks ago. Updated to the latest version, apt-update/upgrade didn’t help, reinstall + update/upgrade didn’t help. The best I can manage is adding the asset in edit mode and getting the “browser version unsupported” error. Either Google changed something or Screenly is just finally outdated enough to not work. We are looking into non-screenly options now.

Same here - was working for years as well

PI 3b+, reinstalled Raspberry Pi OS (Legacy) Buster Lite, screenly-ose Production branch with system updates - no luck.

Can anyone recommend an alternative solution to Screenly OSE ?

We installed just the base pi os and modified the startup script to open chromium full screen and passed a link to a Google Slides presentation that we “published to the web”. You can set it to auto start once loaded, set the auto advance time interval, and restart at the end so it loops. The issue is, you can update content on the slides at any time without having to update any settings on the Pi, but the content displayed on the screen won’t update until the chromium tab presenting the slide show is refreshed. This works for us because our content isn’t updated terribly often, so we just set our Pi to auto reboot every morning. That forces the latest copy to be displayed when Chromium launches again. I’ve looked into auto reload extensions for chromium, but they all require someone to manually enable them every time the browser launches which doesn’t really work.

Again, clunky, but if you need something setup fairly quickly, it’ll work. You can also set a script to either kill Chrome and relaunch or reboot the Pi more frequently if needed, but of course, there are downsides to that.

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I’m doing the same as ChrisL suggests. I’m running my Raspberry Pi’s without Screenly OSE. A script launches Chromium and uses the published URL of the Google Presentation to control delay time and looping options. The Raspberry Pi reboots every day to insure that the most recent version of the Google Presentation is being shown.

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This sounds like it should work well for me too. Would you be able to share your script by any chance?

I ended up using chilipie-kiosk rather than Raspberry Pi OS as it fixes a few issues like the mouse pointer showing, automatic updates and other notifications popping up.

  • Boots directly to full-screen Chrome - with all the features of a modern browser
  • No automatic updates - no surprises due to Chrome (or other packages) suddenly updating
  • Automatic crash-recovery - accidental unpowering won’t result in “Chrome did not shut down correctly :(”
  • Custom startup graphics - displays customizable graphics instead of console messages during startup
  • Lightweight window manager - uses Matchbox for minimal clutter and memory footprint
  • HDMI output control - ready-made scripts for turning off the display outside of office hours, for example
  • Cursor hiding - if you leave a mouse plugged in, the cursor is hidden after a brief period of inactivity
  • Automatic reboots - reboots the Pi nightly, when nobody’s watching, to keep it running smoothly

Hope that helps anyone looking for an alternative to Screenly OSE