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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Google Home app has become this awkward monolithic thing over the years, expanding with more options, settings, and duties as Google's smart home ecosystem has grown. It can be pretty hard to find what you need without some sort of degree in Googleology — or at least some extensive searching. But an update that's now widely rolling out makes navigating through your home's settings a little easier.
The Google Home app only gets an update around once a month, but that generally means that more changes are implemented each time. With version 2.8, a Routines button has been added to the home screen, and there's now a deep link to the Nest app in the Thermostat and Camera sections.
The latest Google Home update is rolling out with a handful of small-ish changes. Some of them are mostly cosmetic, and a few others are convenient links to matching features normally found in the Google app. A teardown also turned up some vague teases for new devices. There is also a new setting for devices that have reversible controls, but it's not clear if that's live for anything yet.
Quite a few Google apps were given minor version bumps today, but nothing has been all that interesting until it was teardown time for the latest release of the Google Home app. It doesn't seem to have any changes in the live interface quite yet, but there are a couple of things from the resources that deserve a look. To begin with, we have a status update on the subject of Bluetooth pairing. On top of that, it looks like it will be possible to set default TVs and speakers to be used as output devices for Google Home.