Your Google Home app just got a major usability UI update
Google is officially rolling out a brand new UI update for its smart home-oriented Google Home app, with significant usability implications. The new UI, as reported and displayed via 9to5Google, moves away from the oversized icons found in previous versions of the app.
In the app, houses are always sorted into groups by room. With all the same features for quick access to routines, cameras and more at the top. But, with app version 4.2.49, the icons below this UI have been replaced with map-style cursors.
These are laid out in a grid format with the previously in place icons collapsed on the cards. Device names and other relevant information are now also displayed on the maps themselves. The redesign is actually reminiscent of the quick tiles found in Android 12 for smart home controls.
Besides the visual differences, how does this Google Home update improve usability?
Now there’s more to it aside from the visual changes that are included, pictured below in an image from the source. It also brings improvements to offer. For example, users can now swipe left or right on a smart light map to adjust brightness. Or on a speaker or a group of speakers to adjust the volume.
Additionally, users can simply tap the card to turn devices on or off. Previously, devices with on/off functionality displayed a small secondary button below each icon.
This means that not only less space is taken up by the previous icon-based layout. But also that the layout itself is more interactive and useful without extra taps. Or the risk of mistakenly pressing small sub-icons or buttons.
When will you see this update?
Now, iOS users are going to have to wait “the coming weeks” to see this change on their smartphones and tablets. And it’s rolling out at a similar pace for Android users. Although it is available to be sideloaded, it has not appeared on any device as of this writing. Given the long and ongoing history of malware issues in apps, sideloading isn’t necessarily advisable at this time either.
So users will probably want to wait for the official update to arrive from the Google Play Store for the Google Home app.