Believe it or not, the Google Home app we know today on Android has been around for ten years now. When it first launched, the average U.S. household had less than 3 smart home devices connected but this has risen to about 22 connected devices per home throughout the years. However, even with that staggering growth, we are not yet at the point where we can say that we have a fully smart home.
Most of that has to do with device incompatibility. With different brands offering different types of smart home devices, most of them either work only with their own proprietary apps or don’t work as well when used with a Smart Home hub such as Google Home. However, with the new smart home connectivity standard called “Matter,” the smart home situation is about to change for the better. Matter will allow for the Google Home app to become the single best place to set up, control, and automate all your connected devices. This will be made possible thanks to recent updates on Matter for Android and Nest devices and a new and improved Google Home app that will be available in Public Preview first for smart home enthusiasts to test out and share feedback. Here are some of the changes you will see in this new version:
Fast Pair with Matter
The new Google Home app will introduce “Fast Pair for Matter,” which will allow you to easily set up Matter devices with no fuss, just as if they were plug and play. Google promises Matter setup and app linking will be available by default on billions of Android devices once Matter support launches later this year. Google is working with top device makers to make sure this support comes to as many devices as possible. It is working to turn existing Google Nest smart speakers, smart displays, and routers into Matter controllers.
Customization in the new Google Home App
Since every household and every situation is different, Google is redesigning its Home app to be customizable so as to become more personalized for every user. This will be possible with the Favorites section that lets users create their own personalized view of their devices, actions, and automations. This Favorites view will be visible right when you open the app without any additional taps.
The new Spaces will allow you to quickly access devices grouped by categories such as cameras or lights in one simple view. While this will be a default view, next year, Google will also be adding the capability to use Custom Spaces so you can create these groups at will, mixing it up the way it makes the best sense to you. Think of grouping things like a vacuum cleaner and a dryer so you can control these two household appliances at once.
View your Nest cameras without going to the Nest app
The new Google Home app will combine the best of the Nest app with the best of Google Home by bringing you a refreshed camera experience that works with both the Nest battery and wired cameras. This new view will be launching today in the US and Canada. This new Nest camera controller will offer a similar view to the timeline currently available in the Nest app, so you can find important moments and do a detailed scrub of your feed. Important events will also be labeled and organized by type: person, package, vehicle, activity, or animal — all without ever leaving the Google Home app.
More helpful Automations
Automations on the Google Home app are not new, but they will now become more helpful. This is because as the Home app opens up to add Matter devices, your automations can now encompass a larger amount of devices and thus have more interesting and helpful combinations. Household Routines will also be expanded to support more devices as starters and actions, including when another smart device does something, when you say something to Google Assistant, when it’s a specific time of the day, or at sunrise/sunset.
Right now, the routines available in the Home app are personal, which means they only appear on your account. However, after this update, we will be able to create Household Routines that will work for everyone in the home, This will begin rolling out over the next few weeks, even in the old Home app. However, if you are feeling adventurous and the routines offered in the app are just not advanced enough for you, early next year, Google is launching a new script editor, which will offer more advanced features and capabilities to automate.
The changes in the Google Home app will not just stay within the Android app and Google wants to make sure that your smart home experience is consistent and unified throughout your devices, be it your phone, tablet, watch, or laptop. To accomplish this, the Google Home app will also be available on Wear OS and the web.
The watch experience that was teased during Google I/O earlier this year on the Pixel Watch, will also roll out to other Wear OS 3 devices over the coming week. This will allow you to control your entire smart home from your wrist. Additionally, in a few weeks, a new camera experience will be available via the web at home.google.com that will allow you to view all your Nest camera and doorbell feeds from anywhere in the world using your web browser.
This new experience will be available first on iOS and Android to users enrolled in the Public Preview program will become available in the next few weeks. However, you can request an invite to the program starting today from the current Google Home app. Let us know in the comments what you think about this new Google Home app and if you consider Matter to be the game-changing standard that will allow Google to tie all this together.