Google teased that it has a redesigned launcher app in process this week and you’ll soon be able to sign up to join the beta. It looks like someone at the company pushed a few buttons earlier, as someone has already received the new app via a Play Store update, complete with a warning that it’s a confidential internal build not to be shared with others. This gives us a first look at the new app in action.
One of our tipsters first reported receiving the app update after signing up for Google Home app previews using a workaround. Since the signup process they used doesn’t appear to be fully live and public yet, it’s possible that this allowed our tipster to receive the internal version of the app, complete with the “dogfood” markup that Google uses to name versions of apps. internal application testing. You can get this version of Home yourself from APK Mirror.
The new Home app is in a very early stage of development.
While the new interface is not available to everyone, we have some images shared by our tipster, Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii and Esper.io Android expert Mishaal Rahman, who were able to activate it. Like Google, the new interface showcases Material Design 3 elements with new button shapes and a new bottom bar, though it still doesn’t seem to support the Material You theme based on its wallpaper.
Just like Google, the new interface reorganizes the way you navigate the app. The bottom bar now consists of five sections: Favorites, Devices, Automations, Activity, and Settings. It is possible to add a selection of your most used devices in Favorites, while you can see all the devices on your network in the Devices section. In Automations, you can start your custom home and personal routines, and you can add any new automations you may need.
There’s also a brand new debugging section in the settings, making it very clear that this app is not intended for a public release. In it, it is possible to change certain variables for the test, such as your country and the cloud environment you are using.
The new interface already looks polished and promising, but it’s clearly a preview version. It is not yet possible to reorder favorites and many devices are no longer recognized correctly. For example, a Nest Hub Max is only recognized as a screen for us, but not as a camera. When trying to access camera history for any device or for the whole house, the loading process is terribly slow, starting from the oldest to the newest. Nest events also don’t offer audio. If you want to try this app early, be prepared to switch to a more stable version after playing around with it a bit.
Teardown shows Pixel Tablet Stand and more
There are some more interesting tidbits in the app. You already have a workflow for configuring Matter devices, although since the consortium just released version 1.0 of Matter, there are probably no devices owned and configured that support Matter.
Mishaal Rahman was also able to find and enable a “Set up your base” workflow in the new app. Based on the strings describing the feature, it’s clear this is intended as a way to configure the Pixel tablet that Google teased during Google I/O. While we’ve seen magnetic connectors on the back of the device before, this all but confirms that the Pixel tablet will serve as a smart home hub. The description of the setup process further says: “Dim the lights with your voice, enjoy hands-free controls, and customize your tablet to suit your needs.”
Source: Mishaal Rahman
There are some other interesting finds in another quick teardown run by Android expert Mishaal Rahman and shared with us. While we’re not sure when they first appeared, there are strings that point to Google eventually preparing the option for connect Nest Audio speakers with Chromecast with Google TVallowing you to enjoy better sound quality when watching your favorite shows.
Additionally, the app lays the groundwork for the new Google Nest Wifi router. The company is working on adding a 160 MHz channel switch for better performance when using the 5 GHz frequency.
The redesign is not available to everyone in the new version.
Some people report that the redesign appeared to them only after they force-closed the app and then reopened it. This can be achieved by tapping and holding the Home icon on your home screen, selecting the i button (either Application information), and then selecting forced stop. Unfortunately, the hack no longer seems to work. Many people who upgraded to the new version stayed with the old interface. Google may have already noticed the accidental release and is preventing the switch to the new interface through a server-side tweak in the APK.
Thanks: Antonio and Armando