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The Quirks of Google Home: Grouping Devices Isn’t as Intuitive as You’d Think

For those of us who’ve invested in the smart home ecosystem, the Google Home app is undeniably a centerpiece in our daily interactions. From managing smart bulbs and thermostats to playing our favorite tunes on Google Nest speakers, it serves as the control hub for our connected homes.

But while the app offers a broad spectrum of functionalities, there’s one particular aspect that has left many scratching their heads: grouping devices to function as one.

Grouping Devices: Not So Straightforward

When you think of grouping devices, the immediate assumption might be: “Let’s just put all these devices in one ‘room’ or ‘zone’ and that should do the trick!” After all, with the way most apps are designed, compartmentalization often translates to collective functionality. However, with the Google Home app, this isn’t exactly the case.

Placing devices in the same room does allow you to control them under a shared room name. For instance, you can say, “Hey Google, turn off the living room lights.” But what if you want multiple lights from different rooms to turn off with a single command? Or maybe you want a single “Good Night” command that turns off your lights, locks your doors, and sets your thermostat to a specific temperature? Here’s where things get a bit murky.

Routines: Your Secret Weapon

The solution, albeit not super intuitive, lies in Google Home’s Routines feature.

Routines allow users to trigger multiple actions with a single command. This is the hidden gem for those looking to group various device actions together. Here’s a simple way to use Routines to group device functionalities:

  1. Open Google Home App and tap on the Routines icon.
  2. Click on “+” or “Manage routines” to create a new routine.
  3. Define your command phrase, such as “Good Night”.
  4. Under “Actions”, add all the individual actions you’d like. You can turn off lights in the bedroom, lock the front door, and adjust the thermostat, all with this one command.
  5. Save your routine.

Now, whenever you utter your command phrase to your Google Assistant, all the defined actions will take place simultaneously, effectively grouping your devices’ functionalities.

Closing Thoughts

While the Google Home app shines in many areas, the intuitive design for grouping devices isn’t its strongest suit. But with a deeper dive into the functionalities it offers, especially Routines, you can achieve the desired collective control. We hope future iterations of the app will make this process more straightforward, but until then, happy routine setting!