According to a support page, Google Home is gaining some new functionality. The smart home devices support page of Google Home has been updated detailing some new features that have yet to be announced publicly. These new features include more direct control over smart home devices and scene support.
Google Home is now getting direct control over more smart devices. Up until now, the devices Home could directly control has been limited to things like lights, smart switches, thermostats, and security cameras. But, it looks like that’s about to change.
If you have a smart washer, dryer, vacuum, or dishwasher, you know that Google Home can normally control these by jumping through some hoops. Unless Google Home has direct control over a device, you have to ask it to talk to another service to perform an action. This means you have to remember the exact phrases that service uses instead of relying on Google’s natural language processing to relay your command. When Google Home is able to control a device, like a Nest thermostat, you can tell Home what you want and it’ll pass the command to the device (“Hey Google, turn the heat down”).
Now, companies will be able to build Home integration for their appliances. Once updated, you should be able to start the vacuum or change cycles for your washer a little bit easier. Samsung is the first company to take the leap. You can check out its Assistant page with instructions on how to connect your appliances and the voice commands they support. Since companies like LG and GE seem to have a pretty close relationship with Google, we’d expect its appliances to pick up Home direct control support soon.
If you’re an owner of smart lights, you may be familiar with scenes. Scenes allow you to save a predetermined brightness and color ahead of time so you can easily recall them. If you always want your lights at 50% and a little more yellow at night, you can set up a scene so you get that with one press of a button. Scenes are especially helpful when you want to use multiple lighting effects throughout the day. Google Home has been a bit behind in supporting scenes, but that might be changing soon.
A new section on the support page we mentioned earlier details the commands needed to control scenes. Right now, it only lists activating or deactivating scenes, which leaves us with some questions. Will these scenes be pulled directly from other apps? Will Google Home be able to save its own scenes?
Scene support is actually live for a few devices right now, though it’s pretty limited. SmartThings and LIFX scenes appear in the Home app and can be used like a normal light. But, with this update, Google may be planning something a little more robust.
What do you think about these new features? Do you use Google Home to control smart home products now? Let us know down in the comments.