November 30, 2023

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The new Google Home app redesign is the platform for the Matter smart home standard

The new Google Home app redesign is the platform for the Matter smart home standard

Google is previewing its all-new Home app to control its smart home devices and many other gadgets it expects people to add to their homes once the new smart home standard Matter arrives. The new app is initially released as a file public preview It starts in a few weeks, and you can sign up to try it soon.

Google Nest’s Anish Kattukaran described the new Home app — which adds a new favorites page and support for sensors to trigger automation and brings the camera interface from the Nest app — as “the single best place to set up, control, and automate your Nest. Hardware and Every Device Matters.”

The new Google Home app arrives on Wear OS

The company also brought Google Home to the web later this year, allowing you to view Nest camera and doorbell feeds from a web browser on In addition, you will be able to control your home from your wrist. The Home app arrives on Wear OS this week, debuting on the new Google Pixel Watch and then starting work on Wear OS 3 soon after. The app will let you turn off the lights, adjust the Nest Thermostat, and get notifications from the Nest cameras on your wrist.

Fast Pair from Google provides a smart plug with Matter.
Photo: Google Nest

It really matters to Google

Google is fully committed to Matter, the new smart home connectivity standard that aims to address many industry weaknesses such as complex setup, confusing integrations, and poor reliability.

In briefing with the edge, Google Nest’s Kevin Boe assured me that the Google Nest Hub Max, Nest Hub (2nd generation) and all Google Nest Wifi routers (including the newly announced Nest Wifi Pro) will be important controllers for Google Home when the standard arrives Later. general. This means that these devices can control any Matter devices locally in the home, either through their interface or through the Home app.

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Nest devices will also be threadlike border routers to provide connectivity between Thread mesh and Wi-Fi. Thread is a major protocol of the material; It allows devices to connect more efficiently on your home network.

Additionally, Po confirmed that Fast Pair for Android will work with Matter, enabling Android phones to automatically detect any Matter devices on your network and help you set them up with just a few clicks, including linking to any compatible Matter app on your smartphone. Po showed a smart plug setup with the option to add it to the Google Home app or the Eve app.

The Favorites page includes a dedicated Favorites section and new Spaces shortcut buttons.

The Favorites page includes a dedicated Favorites section and new Spaces shortcut buttons.
Photo: Google Nest

The new Google Home app takes its cues from the Nest app

Personalization is at the heart of the new Google Home app, with the app’s home page now called Favorites. Here, you can create a custom view of the devices, actions, or automation you want to access most often.

This includes feeds directly from whatever camera you choose as a favourite, which will play in the box as soon as you open the app. Plus, any device you add – from light bulbs to locks – will give you a live status when you open the app so you can quickly see what’s in your home.

At the top of the Favorites page is a new Spaces feature that’s similar to the new shortcut buttons for the Apple Home app. These take you to a range of similar devices such as lights, cameras, climate, and Wi-Fi devices.

You can have a pet space for your pet’s camera, a pet feeder, a vacuum cleaner, and an air purifier

Katukaran said the edge Google is planning to add a custom Spaces option where you can group devices together outside of traditional room groups next year. For example, you could have a pet space for your pet’s camera, a pet feeder, a vacuum cleaner, and an air purifier.

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Also on the Favorites tab is a small floating media player, which gives you quick access to the controls for any media playing in your home, including the Google TV remote interface. It also allows you to swipe to control any other devices that play music or video in your home.

The Devices tab takes you to the traditional room view – still in alphabetical order but now with live previews of any cameras in each room. Here, you can control and see the status of any device.

A floating media player appears in the app when any Google Home device is playing music or video.

A floating media player appears in the app when any Google Home device is playing music or video.
Photo: Google Nest

When you click on the camera tile, you will be taken to the camera console page where you will see a live view of the camera over a vertical timeline. Here, you can scroll through any video history in the same view as the Nest app. This includes small snapshots along the timeline so you can quickly see what might be most relevant. You can choose to see each action event or filter by activity, such as a person or an animal. This is a huge improvement over the old Home app, where you had to tap multiple times to access the recorded video.

The public preview of the Home app will work with all current and discontinued Nest cameras but will still show only the video history of cameras built after 2021. Kattukaran says that over the next year, Google will move older cameras entirely to the Home app. “The Nest app is designed for wired cameras, not battery-powered cameras,” he says, explaining why the transition takes a while.

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Save the best for the end

Finally, Google is bringing sensor support to the Google Home ecosystem. This means that you will be able to operate the automation with motion. It is not clear if contact sensors or other types of sensors such as leak or smoke detectors will also work. I’ve reached out to Google for clarification.

Kattukaran has already said that the Nest Protect smoke alarms will be migrated to the new Home app, so I hope they can be used as an automation trigger as well. In addition, he showed that pressing the doorbell triggers the automation, a sign that the cameras may also be triggered based on motion sensing.

You can soon use sensors as

You could soon use the sensors as “starters” for Google Home automation, a feature that Amazon Alexa and Apple Home have had for a while.
Image: google

The lack of triggers (or triggers, as Google calls them) has been a huge problem for Google Home automation. Until now, you could only start the automation based on the time of day, when the alarm was dismissed, by touch in the app, or with a voice command.

While the app’s automation capabilities still seem fairly basic — although it now includes the ability to schedule cameras to turn on and off — Google is introducing a text editor early next year. This web-based editor is designed for seasoned users who want to create more complex automations with “complex triggers and multiple conditions,” says Katukaran.

The public preview of the new Google Home app will run for a while before the Home app is officially launched, Kattukaran says. You’ll be able to sign up for the preview in the Google Home app soon and updates will start rolling out in “a few weeks”. The preview will continue once the new Home app arrives, with Google saying it will continue to fine-tune the app based on user feedback.

Correction on Tuesday, October 4th at 9:45 am: This article originally mentioned that you can sign up to join the preview of the Google Home app today, but Google has clarified that the signup page will be available at a later time. Additionally, Kevin Poe’s name is misspelled. We are sorry for the error.