Google has spent the last year transitioning its smart home controls from dedicated software to its Home app, creating a central hub for most of its gadgets. This method isn't always perfect — the app is cluttered as it is, and it's getting more so by the day — but in general, having your robot vacuums, smart speakers, and Chromecasts all in one place feels very user-friendly. If you're a Google Wifi or Nest Wifi user, a new speed test option makes it easy to check connections between devices.
Controlling all of your various smart home gadgets can be tricky, but thankfully, Google's Home app acts as a single hub perfect for security cameras, robot vacuums, and RGB light bulbs. Google has been making several efforts to integrate its Nest hardware with Home, including killing off its legacy Wifi app last month. With a new update to Home, Nest Hello users can access even more controls without relying on any other app.
Generally speaking, we're big fans of Wyze's budget-friendly smart home gadgets around here. The company has managed to release everything from security cameras to robot vacuums while undercutting the competition along the way. And while not every single product is a hit, Wyze has still built a great ecosystem of products worth your investment. Its Android app is getting a new update this week, bringing Google Home and Assistant support to the Wyze Lock.
The Google Home app offers an excellent interface for controlling lights, speakers, and any other gadgets spread around your house. It's also used for setting up any Nest speaker or smart display. If you've ever had to set up more than one device at a time, you know how slow and frustrating choosing your default services can be. However, with the newest update to the Google Home app, the setup process just got a little bit quicker.
Setting up new smart home devices is always a hassle, which you might have noticed following the holidays and presents under the tree. You have to look through a list of Assistant actions during setup and select the appropriate one, which is just one part of the multi-step pairing process. Google is looking to make this step easier with the introduction of suggestion chips for new device's actions on your network, but smart home app developers will have to do their part to enable this.
When Google released the new affordable Nest Thermostat in October, it also made some changes to how things are set up and controlled. Instead of using the outdated Nest app, it's all done through the Google Home app now. This is a positive move in many ways, but some of the functionality hasn't yet been migrated over for older models. Finally, it looks like Google is bringing the full new experience to more people, but it sure is a slow rollout.
Google Assistant is pretty powerful, especially when you start playing around with some of its more advanced customization options. The company has been adding new routines recently, including ones that sense your presence and keep you on track during the workday. Now it looks like Google is working on two new routines called sunset and sunrise.
Google's routers are already packed with intelligent features like network stats, manual device prioritization, Wi-Fi pause options, or device grouping — not to mention the integrated smart speaker in the Nest Wifi. To further improve on these options, Google has decided to add the ability to automatically prioritize certain traffic via the Home app, such as video conferencing or gaming.
Last November, the Google Home app received a colorful card-based media control interface, which was quite an improvement over the previous one. But multi-room or multi-speaker playback is rather tricky to set up through this card-based interface, and Google seems to think the same. The company has introduced a much more intuitive UI for media controls in version 2.31 of the Home app that lets you cast to individual or multiple speakers and displays on the fly. And Assistant Routines can finally be triggered through the app again following the update.
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.