Google Home app improves support for garage doors, gains revamped light controls

Google Home
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Google Home app has seemingly gained new in-app garage door controls.
  • The app has also gained a new "Inbox" and revamped "Activity" tab.
  • Some users have spotted an updated UI for lighting controls.

We're less than a week from Google I/O, where the company will surely talk about its latest smart home efforts. In the meantime, the Google Home app has seemingly picked up a new trick and has made a few changes in an effort to streamline the experience.

One feature users should be excited about is improved support for garage doors. While these devices have appeared in the Google Home app, users couldn't really do anything with them from within the app and have been relegated to voice controls. Now, it seems Google is testing button controls in the app, which will make it much easier to open and close your garages.

The feature was spotted by a user on Reddit (via 9to5Google), and it seems the feature is currently being tested on the Google Home preview.

Comment from r/googlehome

In addition to the new functionality, it looks like the Google Home app is also going through a few changes. The first is a change to the Activity tab, which gets a new icon and now immediately shows your history. And taking on the role of showing your activity feed, as previously held by the Activity tab, is a new "Inbox." This appears on the Favorites tab as a notification bell icon next to your account thumbnail at the top.

These changes seem to be appearing for some users on the latest Google Home version 3.0 for users on the preview version of the app.

However, for those on the dogfood release (version 3.1), an additional change has been spotted when interacting with smart lights. Instead of the usual circular control for brightness, users are now met with a pill-shaped slider, which better matches the current Google Home aesthetic. It also shows a small selection of colors to choose from for the light, and users can access a more granular color wheel when tapping the palette icon.

Google Home redesigned lights slider and color wheel

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

It's not clear when these features will officially roll out more publicly across the Google Home app, and Google has yet to say anything about the feature. The company has been making fairly frequent tweaks to the app experience since it entered preview late last year, so we may hear more about these functionalities and more features at next week's big event.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.