There's no way to control a Google Assistant-powered smart home from a Windows PC, at least not yet. That's a problem, not just from the perspective of users, but for Google's ecosystem as a whole. Take this "Google Home App For PC" Chrome extension as an example—while it brazenly uses the official Google Home logo and has generic Google Home screenshots, it's merely a link to a sketchy website instructing you to install the Bluestacks emulator and then the Home app for Android.
Imagine if every time you opened Gmail in the morning, you got a notification reminding you that you could attach files from Google Photos to your emails. Wouldn't that be incredibly annoying? On an unrelated note, ever ask your Google Home what the weather is, only for it to then "helpfully" suggest you set up the "Good morning" feature? Or check sports scores? Or tell you how to play the news? Or one of a handful of other not-very-useful tips and tricks you in no way asked for? You're not alone, and neither are you alone in the realization that there is no guaranteed way to stop these useless engagement experiments.
Following its English to turkey translations in Search, Google has introduced some more fun Thanksgiving Easter eggs. On smart speakers and displays, the company has added a small audible and visual surprise when you tell the Assistant to set a turkey timer, and there is a new turkey filter in Duo that you can use for some laughs with your family while socially distancing.
Google introduced dynamic audio grouping on the Nest Hub and other Assistant-enabled smart displays earlier this year. The feature allows devices to be added and removed from audio groups on the fly without needing to edit groups beforehand. This ability started rolling out in the Google Home app last week — and it enables a workaround that lets you cast videos to Chromecast devices while the audio plays on Nest speakers.
Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers have been able to make calls for a while now in countries like Australia, Canada, and the US. But the functionality was limited to outbound calls placed from the speaker itself. Now it looks like inbound call support is coming to Google's smart home products, but only on a single carrier in Australia.
The Google Home app is core to how you control and interact with dozens of different devices, so it's understandably one of Google's most feature-packed applications. It only got more interesting with version 2.28, as the new update hinted at the rebranding of Android TV, as well as adding some new features surrounding routines and home presence-sensing that were teased earlier this year. Now it seems like the new Home/Away routines powered by presence sensing are available to most users.
Millions of homes now contain a smart assistant speaker of some variety and sales of IoT products continue to grow as the market matures and prices come down across the sector. With so many options available, it's hard to know what to buy, and that's where we come in — this is a selection of our favorite smart home gadgets. Whether you want to just dip your toes in the water with a cheap Google Nest Mini or dive into the deep end with smart lights, cameras, thermostats, doorbells, and so on — we’ve got you covered.
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.