Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Google is extending Home Control from this week

Sherri Watson | 11 October, 2018, 19:24

In that respect, it's more closely related to the Chromecast and Google Home than other smart displays. It brings a basic yet powerful set of controls for your smart home devices.

This is a major update to the usability of the Home app that up until now had little operational use aside from managing your Assistant account and paired devices.

The new Home tab is what you'll see upon open the app, and here you've got quick controls for toggling your smart lights on/off, playing music on any speakers or audio groups, broadcasting a message, adding an item to your home, or diving into the settings. Lastly, there's a microphone near the bottom-center that allows you to quickly prompt the Google Assistant from any page. In other words, you can now control different types of devices from different hardware makers in a central location, much as you might from a "real" hardware hub such as Wink Hub or the Amazon Echo Plus, which provides a built-in Zigbee hub.

If you get the update let us know what you think. The Google Home app has been updated to control multiple devices more easily and remotely, and access Google Assistant in-app as well. As you can see from the image above, you can use it to guide you through cooking something.

There's also better integration with Google's Nest products.

And suggested responses will appear on the display: Tap one and it will be announced to your visitor, so they hear, "Sorry, we're not interested" when a salesperson is trying to hawk their wares. You can't use Google Home Hub in portrait mode, as you can with the Lenovo. But the big difference, for now, I guess, is its new dashboard view, which mimics the new Google Home app on mobile. The idea is to remove what Google calls the "billboard effect" where your eyes are drawn to the brightness of the display in a dim room. Rick Osterloh, the Senior Vice President of Google products, claimed that it will facilitate screen-locking, as well as many other aspects of security, on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL during their launch. Sure. But those desires are more for the early smart home adopters and they are still a niche audience. And that's exactly what the Google Home Hub is all about.