What you need to know
- Google recently conducted a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) to learn what Home app users actually want to be added to the smart home platform.
- In response to requests from users, the company confirms it will add the ability to create home screen widgets for device toggles.
- Camera notification previews will also be expanded to all Wear OS 3+ smartwatches that are paired with an Android 14-based smartphone.
Google is giving the Home app a smart makeover based on what users really want. Thanks to a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), the company is now in the know about the features that users are craving, and it promises to deliver them in the future.
Some of these functionalities have long been requested, such as the integration of Nest Protect into the Home app. A Google product manager confirmed that the company is exploring this feature, though there's no exact timeframe for when it will arrive (via 9to5Google).
Widgets are also among the most requested features of the app. "We are working through the details and designs and hope to have some great options for our users," said another Google representative in response to users who mentioned widgets for individual device toggles and grouped devices.
Currently, users are able to create widgets in Google Home, but they're limited to widgets based on routines. Adding widgets for individual devices will make controlling your smart home devices a lot more convenient. For example, you can do things like turn your lights on or off by just tapping a widget.
Google is also working on allowing smartphones to trigger your home or away mode when they connect to your Wi-Fi network. This means the Home app will use this signal as a presence sensor instead of relying on motion sensors.
A Redditor brought to Google's attention some existing discrepancies between the Nest Hub and Google Home, and the search giant vows to address this. Additionally, camera notification previews will be introduced to all Wear OS 3+ watches paired with an Android 14-based smartphone. Currently, this feature is a Pixel Watch exclusive.
Google Home is also adding the ability to control what your family members can do and what devices they can access. Right now, anyone you add to your "Home" can do anything, even remove you as the owner. But with the upcoming granular control, you'll be able to give people different levels of access.
Finally, the Mountain View-based tech giant plans to roll out Home support for more old camera models soon. As it stands, Google has already announced support for the Nest Cam Indoor (1st generation) in the app for eligible Public Preview users.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.