Android 11 introduced a nifty new interface for controlling media playback that lives among the quick settings tiles rather than the notifications. In it, there's also a button that allows you to choose the sound output (which has actually been around since Android 10). At the moment, it's only populated by your phone's speakers and bluetooth sources, even though it seems like adding Chromecast-enabled devices would be a no-brainer. It looks like Google thought the same, but it will have to be implemented by every single media app out there.
Google will discontinue Play Music this month, and as such, the company is hard at work improving YouTube Music. One of these enhancements revolves around casting and Google Assistant. Songs you ask the Assistant to play while you cast will now show up in your YouTube Music queue on your phone, and when you start playback via the Assistant, you can tap into the queue by casting to the speaker or display in question.
Last week, an update to the Google Home app started rolling out with a bunch of new features in tow. Chief among them is the new dark theme, a new security camera feed, and improved controls for Android 11's power menu integration. More changes have popped up now, though these are governed by a server-side switch and are thus slowly appearing for users.
It's been more than a year since Google's various apps started getting a dark theme to fit with Android 10's system-wide mode picker. Some were prompt to adopt it (Contacts, Messages, Phone, Photos), others took a bit more time (Gmail, Search), and a few were very slow to jump on the bandwagon (Drive, Translate, Chat). Slower than all of these combined are Maps and Home, and today, the latter finally made the leap to the dark side.
After quite a wait, Nest Protect smart smoke and CO alarms are finally starting to appear for folks in Google's Home app. Though the prerequisites were laid out for it all the way back in March, it's only just now showing up as a device in the app for some folks. However, this rollout may have happened a bit early, as Google notes some issues ahead of a formal announcement.
Google has always been interested in making Assistant more than just a task-completing robot, even recruiting writers from companies like Pixar and the Onion to work on it. Earlier this year, the Assistant learned a new song to help people wash their hands for the recommended 40 seconds. It looks like somebody's been at it again, because you can now listen to your digital Assistant sing about the benefits of wearing a mask.
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.
Following those previous leaks, Google has taken a page out of its own book and shown us a glimpse of "what the Nest team is working on from home." The images (and video!) clearly depict the upcoming Nest Speaker, confirming the overall design we saw earlier today.
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.