Google is redesigning its Home app to help usher in a new generation of smart home devices. The new app, which seems to be the most dramatic overhaul of the Google Home app since its inception, will include support for Matter devices and Fast Pair to make setting them up as easy as possible. In addition, Google is bringing Matter support to a number of existing Google Nest devices, and the new Home app will be available on Wear OS 3 and the web in the future. It comes a few months after Apple announced a revamped Home app for iOS which also includes Matter support.
The app’s facelift is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s new here. Google is making Home much more customizable than before, allowing you to create a list of your favorite smart home devices for quicker access. That goes for all smart home devices you can configure with the app, whether it’s a live video camera or a smart sprinkler.
Google is also adding a feature called Spaces which will group devices into categories automatically, so you can access things like lightbulbs or thermostats easier. Down the line, the company says it’ll let you create custom Spaces so you could, for example, “create a space for your cat that groups together all your compatible pet cams, cat feeder, vacuum and air purifier” (as stated in Google’s blog post).
Automation will also be front and center in the new Home app with a dedicated tab at the bottom of the screen. There, you’ll find all of your automated Household Routines and actions in a single list. Google says it’s expanding compatibility with automations to more devices, and in the future will add a script editor with over 100 new features for those who want the most precisely-configured home automation setup possible.
Nest cameras will see some functionality improvements in the Home app, with a new controller that can show you important moments in recorded clips and help you scrub more granularly to find what you’re looking for. Google will also lean on machine learning to automatically highlight events that are organized by type like person, package, vehicle, activity, and animal.
Speakers will also see a slight upgrade with a new media player. It’ll appear on your phone whenever there’s a Nest speaker that’s playing content, and you’ll have al the normal controls you’d expect like play/pause and skip.
Of course, the big new feature is Matter support, which will be available on any Android phone capable of running the new Home app. Google notes that Fast Pair will be the most noticeable advantage to having Matter support since you can turn any Matter-equipped smart home device on, hold you phone near it, and watch a prompt show up with a button to instantly add it to your account. The Google Nest Hub (2nd-gen), Nest Hub Max, and existing Nest Wifi routers will all be updated with Matter support and Thread support which will help them operate more efficiently on your network.
In addition, Google is bringing the Home app to Wear OS 3, starting with the Pixel Watch which will be introduced this Thursday. There will also be a new Google Home portal available on the web. Both will launch later this year.
Google says the new Home app will be available as a public preview at first. It’ll roll out as an update to the existing Home app in the coming weeks. You’ll be able to sign up to test the new app if you want to live on the edge and help with bug testing.
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