Google Home Android App Update Highlights Smart Display Support


The Google Home Android app is now understood to be in the process of receiving its latest update and with that update comes a few small changes designed to reflect support for Smart Displays. The information on this comes from a teardown of the latest version of the app by 9to5Google, and follows on from last month when similar levels of Smart Display support started showing up in the Google Assistant settings within the Google app. Efforts, which when taken together highlight Google's behind the scenes in-app preparations for the arrival of Smart Displays in general.

First up, there is a change at the code level which now sees the use of "Smart Display." In other words, Google is now referring to Smart Displays within the app's code, something which was not in effect previously. Adding to this, text now showing up at the code level highlights the ability to setup and manage a Google Duo account on a smart Display through the Home app. More revealing, however, is the latest version of the app now also includes images that depict a Smart Display which will likely be shown to the user along with the current selection of supported device graphics. On a somewhat related note, the app teardown also reveals the Home app seems to be preparing to offer support for a wider number of smart devices in general. With the code noted making reference to various smart devices, including cameras, thermostats and light bulbs. Leading to the suggestion the integration of more devices with the Home ecosystem is getting closer.

While these are mostly changes to the app that will not be seen by the user after updating, there is one user-facing change that has been noted as it seems the app update changes the name of the Backdrop feature to "Ambient." As a result, this is one of the easiest ways to see whether or not the Google Home app has been updated on a device. For reference, the information here is relevant to version 1.30 of the Google Home app – which is understood to now be in the process of rolling out to devices. This is in spite of the Google Play Store app listing still showing version 1.29 as the most recent version.


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John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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