Ahead of a “next generation design,” the Google Home app is rolling out a redesign of “controls for popular smart home devices.”
Update 9/27: Nearly a month after it was announced, the Google Home app’s redesigned controls for some smart devices are beginning to show up. That being said, it’s not a drastic change.
One person on Reddit noticed that their non-Android/Google TV device now has a pill-shaped on/off button. It replaces the previous circle with an accented color background. This design certainly makes better use of the screen and is larger, which some might appreciate.
However, it no longer notes what room a device is in, while the name is smaller in the top-left corner with an ‘x’ for close. This change is not widely rolled out yet on devices we checked this evening.
Original 8/29: The changes are meant to provide “easier control,” and Google said fans, air purifiers, vacuum cleaners, blinds, TVs, and other “popular smart home devices” would benefit. The company is presumably referring to the page you get after selecting a device in the Home feed.
It’s unclear whether changes will be purely cosmetic or whether there will also be functionality enhancements. Cameras are curiously not mentioned nor are Smart Displays or speakers. Meanwhile, it’s not clear if the improvements are only for dedicated, Google Home-compatible televisions or whether Chromecast-connected screens will also benefit.
This redesign of Google Home device controls is rolling out with version 2.57 of Google Home, which is widely available on iOS but still rolling out for Android. However, there’s likely a server-side component to availability as we haven’t spotted any changes even after updating.
The current design for vacuums and fans are below:
The last visual updates to Google Home introduced interactive device toggles in the main grid. You can quickly take certain actions (play/pause, volume, on/off, and brightness) with a tap or slide. The “Home Feed” tab was similarly revamped with a compact list to show more “recent and relevant updates.” Tablet optimizations are also supposed to be coming.
If this control redesign is already rolling out, it does suggest that the next-gen UI could be more focused on the homescreens rather than anything deeper, though many hope there are bigger app architecture and performance changes in store.
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