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Google Home is Getting a Major Update

Posted May 11, 2023 | Android | Google | Google Home | iOS | smart home | Windows

While this is one of the more minor announcements to come out of Google I/O, Google Home is getting a major update in the coming days that will make this rather spartan app a lot more useful and usable.

“Last year we shared ways we’re making it easier to manage and customize your smart home,” Google director Anish Kattukaran writes. “Now we’re unveiling new features coming to Google Home on your phone, tablet, and smartwatch to help you keep a closer eye on what’s most important to you.”

That “last year” reference is interesting: in October 2022, Google announced that it would support the Matter smart home standard across Android and Nest, and it discussed a public preview of a new Google Home app design that is only now finally starting to roll out. The new Home app features five main navigation tabs—Favorites, Devices, Automations, Activity, and Settings—compared to the two (Home and History) used in the current version of the app. And it uses more color to overcome the bleakness of the current app.

The new app will open in the Favorites view, which is where you can pin, reorder, and edit your most-used devices, actions, and automations and view your Spaces, which is where devices are automatically grouped into categories like lights, cameras, Wi-Fi, and climate. The Android app works with Matter devices, of course—Google just added support for 60 more device controllers—and Matter support is also coming to Google Home on iOS 16.5 and up.

The new Google Home app starts rolling out to everyone today (May 11) on Android. But there’s a new version of the app coming to WearOS starting May 15 that adds rooms, favorites, and camera notifications with animated previews. And a version of the Home app for Android tablets arrives in June that includes landscape and portrait layouts, camera timeline navigation, and an event list.

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