What you need to know
- A new update is rolling out to the Google Home app, bringing the new "Home Panel."
- Home Panel was announced as part of the June Feature Drop and makes it easier to control your smart home devices.
- Instead of needing to open the app, Home Panel provides quick access from the Lock Screen or Quick Settings panel.
Over the past year, Google has been making a conscious and concerted effort to improve the experience when using the Google Home app. After the redesigned app was released in May 2023, Google is now bringing its "Home Panel" feature to owners of Pixel devices.
This was announced as part of the June 2023 Feature Drop for owners of the best Pixel phones, and until now, has only been available on the Pixel Tablet. As noted by 9to5Google, Google Home's latest update brings the Home Panel to more Pixel devices, including the Pixel Fold, Pixel 7a, and older Google phones.
The biggest benefit to using Home Panel is being able to quickly access and control your various smart home devices and accessories without opening the Google Home app. Instead, you can now control everything using either the Google Home Lock Screen shortcut or by taking advantage of the Home toggle in the Quick Settings panel.
After the update has rolled out, the Home Panel is broken into two different sections, with groups of devices at the top and your "Favorites" listed below. This might look rather familiar to many, as it's the same interface you'll see when accessing the Favorites tab within the Google Home app.
In terms of actually controlling devices, you'll be able to turn lights on and off without needing to unlock your device. But if you have any security cameras linked to your Google Home favorites, you'll have to first unlock your phone before live previews appear.
As mentioned previously, this is only currently available for Pixel owners who have already downloaded the June 2023 Feature Drop. Unfortunately, it's unknown whether this update will come to those using some of the best Android phones that aren't a Pixel.
The Pixel 7a is the latest Google smartphone, and while it may technically be priced as a mid-range phone, it will surely bring you a flagship experience thanks to the Tensor G2 chipset underneath. And like other Pixels, the 7a will be among the first to get new Google software.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.