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Google is Improving Your Smart Home Controls on Assistant and Android

Tomorrow, Google is hosting a virtual “Hey Google” Smart Home Summit for developers, but the company didn’t want to wait to unveil some of its announcements. And while Google is primarily focusing on developers, two changes should be crowd-pleasers to smart home users invested in the Google ecosystem.

Android 11’s power menu keeps getting better and better. In an upcoming update, Google will release a redesign that places smart home devices linked to Google Assistant just a button press away. In practice, it’s somewhat similar to Google Home Hub’s smart home shade but better looking.

An Android phone with smart home controls.

If you have the Home app installed, you can choose to have either all or just favorite controls showing, and sliders will let you adjust settings like temperature, brightness, and how far to open blinds. You can even add controls to the lock screen.

But if you prefer an automated smart home that controls itself, Google’s new and improved routines should interest you. Later this year, Google Assistant’s routines will expand functionality to work off presence, much like Nest does with home and away. Your smart home will be able to react when you leave home or step into a room.

Creating routines is the difficult part, and one reason they may not get used more often. To that end, Google plans to give developers the ability to create pre-made routines for devices. Once in place, developers can suggest routines that not only work with the gadgets they produce but also with other devices in your home.

You’ll be able to browse and turn on Google-approved routines and select which Nest and smart home devices can control. Google didn’t give exact timing for these new features, only that they would arrive later this year. We’ll let you know when we learn more.

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »