If you saw our coverage of the Google Home Hub, one of the standout features — including the hardware itself — was the new Home View dashboard. This simplified home control system has now found its way to the Google Home app on mobile with the entire Home app receiving a complete visual overhaul as well.
At the core of this new design is the aforementioned Home View, which streamlines smart device control, putting all of your connected devices into a slimline list of rooms. Within your room-grouping, you can access quick controls for light control, thermostat adjustments, TV streaming and more.
On the design front, the new Google Home look matches the latest look across the array of Google apps, including Messages, Calendar, Google Photos, and more.
All of these quick toggles and shortcuts are bundled at the top of the Home app screen and go by the name ‘Quick Actions’ — which are automatically generated by Google. You can customize the toggles should you wish.
Beneath that you’ll find every single device connected to your Google account in a list based upon room. Overall it feels less cluttered and not having to delve into multiple side menus makes the entire process so much more streamlined.
Overall the redesign really helps the non-techie manage their home devices that little bit easier. It also makes more sense simply from a usability standpoint, especially when you don’t need to rely on multiple applications to manage your lights for instance. That being said, you don’t have the fine controls such as light color with bulbs but adjusting brightness is quicker and easier than it was before.
Creating speaker groups is now much quicker and easier, you can now broadcast a message across these speaker devices in a much easier fashion — removing the need to say: “Okay Google, broadcast”. That old method still works just fine if you prefer it.
Adding, removing and updating devices is made brief and intuitive thanks to the ‘Quick Actions’ panel — it’s a much-needed step to help get rid of the older convoluted process that kept things hidden in tabs.
One addition that I feel many will really love is the ability to remove the now playing notification from any device connected to your home network, so no more frustrating pauses, plays and skips. Although you can do this on a device by device basis — which is another bonus.
Of course, the app has received an overhaul in the looks department, with updated fonts and icons to match the slightly updated Material Theme. The Discover feed is pushed aside in favor of the new control screen — infinitely less confusing in my opinion. You can access Google Assistant directly within the app and manage any connected hardware too, yet another level of control all without leaving the app.
Inviting a home member via email means that all family members can have access to these controls — although they will be able to control everything in your home. I’d like to see Google update this to add granular device access for family members — especially those with children. This also means you can control a friends home devices if you receive an invitation.
It’s a solid update that makes the entire home control process that little bit simpler and even easier for those not versed in technology to manage the increasing number of smart home devices. The update is currently rolling out to Android but is already available on iOS devices.
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