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. Now it's only getting more interesting with version 2.28, as the new update hints at the upcoming rebranding of Android TV, as well as adds some new features surrounding routines and home presence-sensing that were teased earlier this year.
The Google Store has been running daily promos for more than a month, and while most of the deals have been rather disappointing compared to previous discounts, the videos featuring Fred Armisen have been fun to watch. Yesterday's video also contained a little Easter egg: Fred unlocks his Nest x Yale lock straight from the Home app.
When Google introduced its new Nest Wifi routers, it promised to bring over all the settings from the dedicated Wifi app to the regular old Home app. It looks like the company is working on making good on that word, as the latest Google Home app (v2.26) has added a slew of advanced Wifi controls that were previously reserved to the standalone Wifi app, including things like DNS, WAN, LAN, and DHCP configurations.
Smart plugs are a great way to make simple electronics more intelligent — be it an old lamp with a non-removable light bulb, an older TV, or a coffee maker. However, outlets can't tell what's plugged into them, so any smart plug just got a generic logo in the Home app. That changed when Google started automatically adjusting the symbol depending on what you call the device — e.g., "desk light" will give you a light bulb icon.
As part of its CES announcements, Google is taking the wraps off a bunch of new and upcoming Assistant functionality, like the ability to schedule actions, a new "Read It" command that dictates text content like news in a more natural voice, plus new Smart Display features like sticky notes and speed dial. While much of it won't land until a nebulous date "later this year," it gives us a peek at what to expect from the Assistant in 2020, and a reference for when Google re-announces half of it as new later once it's been in silent public testing for a couple months.
Over time, major TV, movie, and video service providers have been rolling out Google Assistant voice support so that users can access their favorite content on Chromecasts and Google Home smart displays simply by speaking. Just last month, Sling added its service to Google's growing list of companies, and today, Hulu has officially hopped onto the roster, as well.
The Home app was initially a reminiscence of the Chromecast software and became almost useless the minute you were done setting up your device. An update back in October made it much smarter, giving it the ability to actually control connected objects such as lights and plugs. This was a significant improvement, as it turned the application into a smart home control center, instead of a mere setup wizard.
The Google Home app has been a mess for a while now. Instead of being a control center for your smart home, as the name suggests, the main focus is video content suggestion - a holdover from when it was the Chromecast app. We first saw evidence that a redesign was in the works a few months ago, and now the new app is official.
Smart home devices are an absolute pain to manage, especially if you use products from different companies. To help make the complicated smart home ecosystem a little simpler, Google is introducing a new 'Home View' for Assistant smart displays, and a redesigned Home app.