Earlier this month, an update to the Google Home app revealed a new presence sensing feature in the works, along with a revamped setup process for Home/Away routines. Now new information on the changes has hit online support documentation, giving us more details on what to expect as Google pushes customers away from the Nest app and toward Google Home.
Presence sensing on the Google Home app uses a combination of sensors from Nest products and your phone's location data to tell if you're home or not. Based on this info, it triggers Home and Away routines. If this sounds similar to the Nest app's Home/Away Assist feature, you're right. Google says the Home app update works "similarly, with some improvements."
A comparison between Home & Away routines and the Nest app's Home/Away Assist.
In true Google fashion, customers can keep on using the Nest app's version, switch over to the Home app's routines, or continue using both for now. They're doing roughly the same thing behind the scenes, but there are some differences. If you enable geofence in one app, it gets automatically disabled in the other. Home app routines can't adjust Nest Guard yet, but the Nest app's Assist feature can't adjust smart lights, plugs, or switches. And if you want to use the Home app, you'll have to migrate your Nest account to a Google account, if you haven't already.
To sum things up, Google is introducing Home & Away routines in the Google Home app to replace Home/Away Assist in the Nest app — but much like the transition from Google Play Music to YouTube Music, the shiny new thing isn't necessarily better. It seems a little odd for Google to focus on the Home app when it's going all in with Nest branding for upcoming smart home products like the Nest Audio speaker, but hey, that's one of the things that makes being a Google fan so
- Google Support