- The Google Home app has been given a visual refresh and new functions.
- Most notable here are automations, which are more advanced and customizable routines.
- You can test a public preview of the new app soon.
Update, October 4, 2022 (4:20 p.m. ET): The following article incorrectly states that the preview of the new Google Home app is rolling out today. However, Google informed us that its original briefing materials were incorrect and that the rollout would not take place today, but “in the coming weeks”. We’ve updated the article slightly to reflect this new information.
Original article October 4, 2022 (9:00 AM ET): In the Google Home app you can find all things around your home smart home. It’s received a few visual overhauls over the years, most recently in 2019. This update brought it to where it is now with a list of device controls with a Material Design aesthetic.
Today, Google is announcing another major overhaul of the app. Not only will it look and function differently, but it will also be more powerful and customizable for your specific smart home.
Google won’t be rolling out the new Google Home app for a while. However, you can try
today (This will roll out “in the coming weeks” according to updated information from Google) by signing up for the public preview, open in select areas. Just launch the Home app and find the public preview information. Then you can try it. If you don’t like it, you can always roll back until Google fixes the bugs.
New Google Home App: A visual refresh with new functions
Google reorganized things within the app and introduced some visual changes. If you use Android 12 or Android 13, you won’t be surprised by the overall look of the app. It aligns strongly with the material you got for Android 12 in 2021.
On the reorganization front, there are now three categories of controls:
- space — These are customizable collections of various smart home gadgets. Right now, the Home app lists things by room: kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc. That’s great, but it’s pretty limiting as you can’t easily control multiple devices in different rooms. Spaces lets you categorize devices however you want. For example, you could point a baby monitor in one room and a camera in another room at a spot where your child plays often. You could now put these two items into a Spaces category called Baby. Now you can easily see all smart baby related products in one place.
- Favorites — This one doesn’t really need an explanation. You can now set specific devices that you use most often as favorites. This will bring them to the fore in the Google Home app for easier access.
- Media – You’ll now see a media widget at the bottom of your home feed. This automatically detects what media is playing in your home and gives you the right control for that moment. When playing music through your speakers, there are song controls. If you watch TV, there are TV remote controls. It should give you exactly what you need, when you need it.
Google is also bringing some of the Nest app’s best features to Google Home. That includes a much better and more intuitive camera feed that lets you see what’s going on in your home. There are now fewer taps to find what you need.
Finally – and this is huge – the Google Home app is coming to the web! This allows you to view your camera feeds in a web browser instead of on your phone. Consequently, there will also be a Wear OS-based Google Home app that will debut with the Google pixel watch.
In the Home app as it exists now, you have routines to help you with different conditions for multiple devices. For example, you might have a routine where you say, “I’ll have dinner in a minute,” which dims the lights, turns on the music, and locks the front door. Routines may seem powerful, but they’re actually quite limiting.
For example, routines must be triggered by either a voice command or one of Google’s preset triggers. However, the new automations will be much more open. These allow you to create routines based on any trigger you can think of across your entire range of smart devices.
Automations are a gift for power users.
As an example, you could set up an automation that would be triggered by a motion sensor outside of your bedroom. If this sensor detects movement from 6pm to 10pm, it could turn on a number of lights, turn off a few others and close the blinds on the ground floor of the house. This type of granular control was previously unknown in the Google Home app.
As if that wasn’t enough power in the hands of smart homeowners, Google has promised that a full script editor will land sometime in 2023. This would allow you to actually code automations throughout your home, which could finally fully realize the whole idea of a “smart” home.