Google Home Updates Make It Easier to Manage Your Smart Home

Google Home, the popular smart home management platform, is introducing several updates to enhance the user experience and provide greater control over connected devices. With a redesigned app, improved camera features, expanded device compatibility, and enhanced accessibility across multiple platforms, Google Home is making it easier than ever for users to manage their smart homes. These updates have been developed based on feedback from over half a million Public Preview testers and are set to roll out starting May 11, 2023.

Redesigned App for Effortless Smart Home Control

The revamped Google Home app features a streamlined five-tab layout, simplifying device control, home automations, and home monitoring. The app opens directly to the Favorites tab, where users can pin frequently used devices, actions, and automations. Additionally, the app introduces Spaces, which automatically categorizes devices into groups like lights, cameras, Wi-Fi, and climate control. Users have the flexibility to reorder and customize their Favorites tab to suit their preferences. The app also incorporates an Inbox to stay updated on important device notifications and an Activity tab for a chronological overview of device and camera history.

Enhanced Camera Viewing Experience

Managing and viewing Nest cameras becomes even more convenient with the new Google Home app. Users can access all camera feeds by tapping the Cameras Space or add them to the Favorites tab for instant live streaming upon opening the app. Furthermore, vertical video history scrubbing allows users to swiftly navigate through hours of recorded video history, with key events clearly labeled and organized by type, such as person, package, vehicle, or activity. In the coming months, support for early generation Nest Cameras will be introduced, starting with Nest Cam Indoor (1st Gen) in July for Public Preview users, followed by Nest Cam Outdoor (1st Gen).

Expanded Device Compatibility with Matter

The Google Home app's new Devices tab offers a centralized location to manage all smart home devices, including those compatible with Matter. Over 60 device types, either Matter-enabled or certified Works with Google Home, now have improved controllers. This integration allows users to control various smart devices, such as garage door openers, shades, washing machines, and lawnmowers, from a single platform. Furthermore, iOS users will soon gain Matter support with iOS 16.5, enabling setup and control of Matter devices directly through the Google Home app on iOS devices.

Accessibility on Wear OS and Tablets

Expanding on the Public Preview features, the Google Home app is introducing additional capabilities for Wear OS devices. Users can scroll through rooms on their smartwatches and access Favorites for quicker adjustments. Wear OS users will also receive camera notifications with animated previews, ensuring they stay informed about important events, such as package deliveries. The Google Home app for Wear OS will be available to all users starting May 15. Additionally, improvements for landscape and portrait orientations will enhance the Google Home app's functionality on tablets, including support for navigating camera timelines and event lists in landscape mode. These updates will be accessible to Pixel Tablet and Android tablet users in June.

Introducing the Home Panel for Pixel Devices

Google is launching a new home panel on Android devices, providing one-tap access to Google Home directly from the lock screen or quick settings. Initially available on Pixel phones, including the Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold, and later on the Pixel Tablet, users can effortlessly control devices without opening the app or unlocking their devices. When the Pixel Tablet is docked and in Hub Mode, the home icon on the screensaver allows anyone in the household to access the panel and view and control devices.

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