a photo of Google Assistant devices and Matter logo
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Google is giving Google Home app an upgrade and Matter

Google announces new redesign of the Google Home app to accommodate the growing of smart devices in US households and is bringing Matter Protocol to its ecosystem.

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For the past 8 years, GearBrain has been using the Google Home app to test Google Assistant enabled devices and their compatible connected devices. For those of you who don't know about the Google Home app or might live under a rock, the Google Home app is used to help control your Google Assistant smart speaker and displays as well as compatible smart devices. Recently, after testing a bunch of compatible devices. we have found the Google Home app to be easy to use but a little outdated. It seems Google agrees with us since today they announced they are giving the Google Home app upgrade. This is perfect timing since the average household is increasing the number of smart and connected devices in the home and we need to provide users with apps that can connect and operate devices in a seamless manner.

Google’s goal is to make the smart home as simple and reliable as the light switch on your wall. They envisioned a future where your smart home is easy to navigate and reflects the unique needs of your home. Where you could control everything in one place, from any surface, and where all your compatible devices work together to be more helpful. But they also realize every user will have different needs in their home.

To help solve this problem, Google revealed their plans for the new Matter protocol. If you haven’t heard of Matter, it’s a new smart home connectivity standard created by the Connectivity Standards Alliance which is schedule for release later this year and will help users solve interoperability among all connected devices. Google Home app will be the app users can use to setup, control and automate compatible devices. Whether it’s a Nest device, Matter compatible device or any of the 80,000+ devices that works with Google Assistant, the Google Home will make it easier and safer to get them all to work together in one app.

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A photo of Tuya's Matter announcement at CES with smart light bulbsGoogle will use Fast Pair with Matter to help connect all smart devices to their ecosystem. Tuya

How easy will it be?

According to Google, the Google Home app redesign will include new favorite, spaces and media control tables as well as provide easier and faster pairing of devices. Yes, there is a new Fast Pair for Matter which will help make your devices more “Plug and Play” when you first bring them home and try to connect them. If you have an Android smartphone, Android will automatically detect a Matter device and help you set it up quickly and securely. Matter setup and app linking will be available by default on billions of Android devices with Google’s launch of Matter support later this year. Also, Google is updating existing Google Nest smart speakers, smart displays and routers to control Matter devices. More to come on this.

With the rapidly growing number of compatible devices in people’s homes, Google realizes that there is no one size fits all model to organize the home. They are making customization and personalization a core principle for the new Google Home app. The first thing you see in the new updated app is the Favorites tab. The favorite tabs will be your personalized view of the devices in your home. Here is where users create their own personalized view of their devices, actions and automations that matter most. And this also includes being able to favorite all your Nest cameras so you can view your live streams, right when the app opens, no additional taps required.


photo of Google Home app Spaces tabSpaces on Google Home AppGoogle

Next up is Spaces which will be your controls grouped together. Spaces make it quick to access devices grouped by important categories like your lights, cameras, thermostats or network devices in one simple view. Next year, Google will be adding more customization options with custom spaces. For instance, users can create a space for their cat that groups together all your compatible pet cams, cat feeder, vacuum and air purifier.

The media control is a media mini player that allows you to see what’s playing in your home. You can quickly adjust the volume or access the remote when you want to change the channel. Plus, there will be refresh camera viewing experiences which will make finding clips a lot easier than what is there today

Google also announced they will be making updates on Matter for Android and Nest devices as well. When you combine these updates with a new and improved Google Home app, users will be able to have a few smart lights or dozens of connected devices work seamlessly together and improve their smart home experience.

When is the app ready for download?

Google mentioned the new Google Home app will be available in Public Preview first so you can test out the latest features, share feedback and help us shape the future of Google Home.

What about Nest users and the Nest app?

Google mentioned they want to honor the Nest app by combining it with the best of the Google Home app and provide a completely refreshed Nest camera experience that works for both battery cameras and wired cameras, like the new wired Nest Doorbell, that’s launching today in the US and Canada. The new Nest camera controller also allows you to quickly find important moments and do a detailed scrub so you can get to the critical 10 seconds in the clip. You can scroll through hours of video history in seconds and thanks to machine learning capabilities on Nest Cams and Doorbells, important events will be labeled and organized by type, such as person, package, vehicle, activity or animal. Note: the new Google Home app will have support for legacy Nest cameras too.

New Google Nest Wired Video DoorbellsGoogle Launched new Nest Wired Video DoorbellGoogle

What’s coming next to Google Home app?

Google understands consumers want a helpful, more automated home. While smart devices can now do more on their own, the real helpfulness happens when they all work together — regardless of who made the device. For instance, if you are away from home for the day, all your compatible lights automatically turn off, the Nest Thermostat goes into Eco mode, and smart locks auto lock. When you connect the smart water meter to Nest speakers, it announces when the plants need some love and water. Therefore, Google is making home automation front and center in the new Google Home app with the new automation tab. We’re also expanding Household Routines to support more of your smart home devices as starters and actions so you can create automations like these, more accessible, more capable and easier to set up.

Google understands that many of their most advanced users want to create even more powerful home automations. Early next year we plan to launch a new script editor, which will offer more than 100 new features and capabilities to fit your unique understanding of your home and what you want it to do.

a photo of smartphones showing household routines in Google Home appHousehold routines in Google Home appGoogle

Another new future release will be Google Home app coming to Wear OS and the web. Google wants to ensure your home experience is unified and available everywhere you are — from your display, tablet and phone to your TV, watch and laptop. That’s why we are bringing the Google Home app to Wear OS and the web.

The new Google Home app for Wear OS, that Google gave a sneak peek of on the upcoming Google Pixel Watch at Google I/O earlier this year, will be rolling out to Wear OS 3 devices over the coming week. You will be able to turn off the lights, adjust your Nest Thermostat, get notifications from your Nest cameras and more — all from your wrist.

In a few weeks we’ll also be rolling out a new camera experience on Google Home for the web that lets you view all your Nest camera and doorbell feeds. On home.google.com you’ll be able to easily check in on live views in full screen, zoom in to see more details, view camera status, and more all from your web browser. This will be a nice feature if you are a traveler and want to keep a close eye on your smart home when on the road.

a photo of smartphones showing custom spaces in Google Home appComing in 2023 to Google Home app, custom spaces.Google

Summary

To recap, the new Google Home app is getting a facelift and will be easier to use and can combine all your smart devices, including new Matter devices into one app for easy setup and control. The new Google Home app is designed for both iOS and Android mobile devices. It will be available first to users in our Public Preview program in the next few weeks. You can be one of the first to try it by requesting an invite to the program from the Google Home app starting today.

GearBrain likes these new app features and will be testing them along with the new Google Nest Wired Video Doorbell which Google launched today. We understand the challenges of interoperability and how important it is to smart home users to have one app control all your smart devices. These moves by Google will make building a smart home easier but also fun now that the frustration part of finding compatible devices has been simplified.

And if you need additional help finding any smart or connected devices, especially ones compatible with Google Assistant enabled devices or the new Matter wireless protocol, remember you can use The GearBrain. It’s a free platform that can help you find, buy and connect any smart device. Just tell us what devices you own, and the platform can find all the products compatible with your stuff. It can also show you where to buy them and if needed, troubleshoot any problems and store your manuals and warranties for free.

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