The updates include easier ways to view your cameras, better support for Matter-enabled devices, and more.
Google I/O 2023 is here and brings with it several important changes to your Google Home app.
On Wednesday, the company announced a major redesign of the app, as well as a handful of new features for it. The updates will begin rolling out to Android and iOS users tomorrow, May 11, and Wear OS users on May 15.
Read on for an overview of the major changes coming to the app, available on your phone, tablet and smartwatch. And for more news from Google I/O 2023, join CNET's watch party for the event or explore the live blog.
Last fall, Google announced plans to redesign the Google Home app in an effort to create a unified app for controlling and automating multiple smart home devices. Since then, it's run tests and incorporated user feedback in order to beef up speed and performance. The updated app delivers significantly faster live camera feeds and access to clips, according to the company.
Google is unveiling over 50 updates and new features, including the ability to view live camera feeds 38% faster and to access camera clips 29% faster than the previous Google Home app experience.
Among the new features and functions, here are five to really watch out for:
Google continues to look for ways to help people manage, customize and automate their smart homes, and the app redesign is a part of that effort.
The new app showcases a five-tab layout: a Devices tab to view and manage all your smart home devices; a Settings tab to organize notifications; an Automation tab to control connected smart home devices; a Favorites tab to provide quick access to devices used most; and an Activity tab to view the entire history of your user and camera activity in chronological order.
The app will open to the Favorites tab, where you can quickly access your most-used devices, and manage your Spaces, where devices are automatically grouped into categories, such as lights, cameras, and so on.
The app will also include an Inbox for important updates and reminders, including device issues.
Google is making it easier to access and manage your cameras too. Users can now view all live camera feeds in one cameras Space or add feeds to the Favorites tab, which pops up when you open the app.
Google Home users can also now scroll vertically through camera clips with vertical video history scrubbing, making it easier to search and organize hours of footage.
Matter is a relatively new open-source smart home standard that supports compatibility among Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Samsung SmartThings devices on one wireless protocol. Meaning, instead of worrying if a smart home device is compatible with Google Home (or Apple's HomeKit and Amazon Alexa), it just has to be compatible with Matter.
The Google Home app launches new controllers for more than 60 devices that are either Matter-enabled or are compatible with Google Home devices. This allows you to control supported devices -- smart garage door openers, lights, thermostats, plugs, shades and much more -- from one place.
Starting with iOS 16.5 (rumored to be released next week), users can control Matter and Matter-compatible devices in the Google Home app on iOS devices.
Google is expanding Google Home app features for Wear OS. With the new update, Google smartwatch owners can now access a Favorites tab to make quick changes, receive camera notifications and more.
Google Home on Wear OS will be available May 15.
Google is also announcing a new Pixel feature in the form of a Google Home integration for Android devices called the home panel. If you own a newer Pixel phone or tablet, you can now access Google Home directly from the lock screen or quick settings on several devices -- such as the Pixel 7A, Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet. A new home panel will let you streamline access to turning off lights, adjusting your thermostat, controlling home security cameras and generally automating your home.
This home panel will be available next month.
For more, check out our list of Google products likely to be unveiled at the I/O 2023 event and how the Pixel Fold can save foldable phones.