There’s a reason I prefer commanding Google Assistant to turn on the lights in my apartment through the many smart speakers I have around. It’s easier than taking a smartphone out of my pocket, then opening the Google Home app, or the respective app I’ve downloaded for that gadget.
However, Google Assistant has its own challenges to overcome, and can be tripped up now and then. One misunderstood word can leave with the lights at full blast in your living room, when you wanted them turned low in the dining room.
That’s why I’m digging Google’s new quick-access interface for smart home devices. It was found first in the Android 11 Developer Preview, and can now be found in the Android 11 beta.
No fuss, fast access
The Google Home app can be overwhelming. Just one look at what’s on my
Holding down the power button on my Google Pixel 4 (running the
Indeed, smart speakers are my first preference for commanding
Cameras, bots, and more
My customizable interface is largely dominated by the various smart LED light bulbs I have, but you can also add controls to access your cameras. Again, it’s useful that I can access my Google Nest Cam IQ Indoor through the interface, which overlays to the livestream after pressing on the corresponding button. I would like to see a preview of some sort, whether it’s a still image or the live stream itself, within the main interface. In the beta, it’s nothing more than a button to access the camera.
On top of customizing the layout of the interface, there’s an option to add controls to many other gadgets connected to the
However, they don’t do anything at the moment when I press on their corresponding buttons. I can’t reiterate enough how useful it would be if the most important controls were accessible. Commands to have the robot vacuums start cleaning or return home would make sense, while a command to stream my phone’s screen to
Another set of controls include adjusting the brightness intensity of my smart LED light bulbs. Once they’ve been activated, I’m able to adjust them through the same icon, which displays the corresponding percentage. That’s the way it should be.
Simplicity is key
I can’t stress enough how rare it is for me to run the dedicated
That’s why it’s imperative for Google to keep this new interface simple and straightforward. It shouldn’t have all the same controls and functions as the
As we get closer to a final
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