Google is currently rolling out an update for its Home app that adds support for smart garage doors and a new Inbox feed for recently triggered events.
To try out these features, you’ll need to download Google Home version 3.0 from the Play Store (opens in new tab). You can also enter the Google Home Public Preview program (opens in new tab) to try out the tools if they don’t appear after installation. To join, open the Google Home app, go to the Settings menu, and select Public Preview under General. Tap Request Invite and the company will send you an invitation to install a beta version of the app. You can leave the program at any time.
Now let’s get into the details.
Users who own a smart garage door will be able to open and close it via a large on/off toggle on the app. Interestingly enough, this feature has been available on the Google Home app for several weeks now as seen in a Reddit post from last month (opens in new tab), but it didn’t work initially. People still had to use alternate means like voice commands via Google Assistant to open the door.
A report from 9to5 Google (opens in new tab) was able to confirm it is now fully functional. However, its usability is still restricted. That same report notes that the tool only works with a couple of brands; namely Tailwind and Nexx. Because Google has yet to formally announce the update, there isn’t, at least at the time of this writing, an official source listing of all the supported products.
Google Home is also adding a notification bell icon to the app where tapping it opens up the Inbox feed mentioned earlier. Other reports state (opens in new tab), “that by all accounts”, it’s essentially the old Activity tab as it displays recent events in a smart home. There is some confusion as to where the bell icon will be placed. It seems to depend on which version of Google Home you have. Version 3.0 changes the Activity clock icon in the bottom bar into the bell, while the version you get from Google Home Public Preview places it next to the profile picture.
Besides these features, the company is currently working on redesigning the Google Home lighting tool. Instead of just having a predefined selection, the app will one day have a circular slider giving users a better way to pick a color of their choice (opens in new tab). A temperature slider will also be added for people who want either a warmer or cooler hue. The brightness ring is changing into a pill-like shape that, as you can probably guess, functions as a slider for more granular control.
The redesigned lighting tools are not available to the public as they’re only part of the dog food (opens in new tab) version of Google Home. It’s a pretty weird name for a build, but basically, it means the redesign is currently being tested internally.
We asked Google if they could provide us a list of the smart garage door brands that work with the new toggle and when people can expect the Inbox feed. This story will be updated with Google’s response.