Google Home no longer needs to rely solely on smart home devices like thermostats to know whether or not you’re nearby. Optional presence detection function of Home now you can use Interactions with Nest speakers and smart displays to help detect activity around your home, allowing you to take automated actions. If you talk to your Nest Audio or touch your Nest Hub, for example, Google can learn how to turn on your lights. Second-gen Nest Hubs can also use their Soli radar sensor to know when you’re nearby.

You can enable presence detection in the Google Home app to Android Y iOS by visiting the Features section in the settings. Detection is strictly optional, and Google emphasizes that ambient noise will not trigger presence signals. Cameras, doorbells, and the Nest Hub Max will not switch devices between “at home” and “away” modes.


The expansion makes presence detection considerably more useful. Until now, you needed a Nest Guard, Nest Protect, Nest Thermostat, or Nest x Yale smart lock along with your phone’s location. While those are often good indicators, they don’t always tell the whole story: You can lock the door when someone is still home. The use of speakers and screens could make Google’s smart home automation more reliable, particularly in unusual scenarios.

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