I use the Google Home app pretty often to control my lights and various other smart home gadgets, but I must admit I had entirely forgotten about the second tab in the app's bottom navigation. It's a feed that alerts you to certain events across your home, such as the addition or removal of devices or Wi-Fi status updates. Google has just rolled out a new settings menu you allowing you to customize the types of notifications in this feed.
Google is known for overlapping multiple apps at once — just look at its messaging strategy. While both Google Wifi and Nest Wifi have a dedicated app for controlling and monitoring your networking gear from your phone, the Google Home app has steadily gained similar features over the last several months. It seems that was all part of the company's intentions, as starting next month, you'll need to use the Home app to configure and customize your Wi-Fi routers.
The Google Home app is getting an update to version 2.34 today in the wake of the debut of the new Nest Hub — namely, the app has been made to support said new device as well as a couple of other more features if you're in a Google Workspace or own a Google Wifi or Nest Wifi mesh network.
Controlling your smart devices with a speaker is very convenient, especially when you're busy cooking or are far from your phone. Most importantly, Alexa and Assistant work with a great number of devices and allow you to control all of them without worrying about which bulb or plug works with what platform.
Sadly, there are times when using your voice isn't a great option, either because your "smart" speaker isn't so intelligent and doesn't get what you're saying, or you just want to be keep things silent.
The clock face offerings on Google's Nest Hub devices have always been a little underwhelming, and it recently even dropped support for showing photos from Facebook and Flickr. Google is finally expanding its collection with three new clock faces for the Nest Hub and the Nest Hub Max, one of which shows both the time and weather concurrently.
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.
Smart displays with Google Assistant have a few different options for what appears when not in use. They can show a full-screen clock, images from Google Photos, or an art gallery. Google also included experimental support for showing images from Facebook or Flickr accounts, but this has now been removed.
For years, you've been able to trigger extra sound effects on the Google Home when reciting a handful of Little Golden library books. This Read Along feature worked with a small library of Disney titles, which has changed over the years. Earlier this week, though, Google massively cut the number of titles available to a mere five.