After teasing earlier this year, Google has fully detailed how Home & Away Routines work. That said, the feature does not appear to be rolled out yet today.

Support documents (via Android Police) today note how “you can automate home devices and take care of everyday tasks with Home & Away Routines in the Google Home app.” 

If you opt-in, the Home app uses your phone’s location (determined by cellular and Wi-Fi data) to figure out when you’ve crossed over your geofence, a virtual perimeter around your home that you designate when setting up the feature. 

These Routines leverage “presence sensing to automatically adjust your home devices when someone comes home and when everyone’s away.” This is informed by using your phone’s location (via the Home app) or sensors on the following devices:

  • Nest Guard 
  • Nest Secure Tag
  • Nest thermostats 
  • Nest Protect (Wired)
  • Nest × Yale Lock

The Home/Away status can also be set manually at the top of the Home app. Meanwhile, these routines can adjust your Nest thermostat, enable/disable cameras, and turn on/off smart lights, plugs, or switches. Google touts Routines as delivering energy savings and providing a more personalized experience.

Google does note that Nest app users can continue to “seamlessly” and interoperably use the previous Home/Away Assist capability. The differences between the two are summarized in the following chat, with the new feature not yet supporting the “Nest Guard.” Google says that the “list of devices will continue to grow to include other devices that are compatible with Google Assistant over time.”

Once this is rolled out, you’ll be prompted to “Set up Home & Away Routines” inside the Google Home companion client. For each Routine, you’ll be asked to select what devices change, as well as what should be used to determine presence sensing. This launch appears to be imminent.

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