Google Home is finally getting the Alexa feature I’ve been waiting...

Turn off the lights when you leave and turn them on again when you return with the long-awaited Google Home presence detection feature.

Juan Garzon / CNET

When Google announced the introduction of the new Home & Away function for location detection for its smart speakers Google Home and Nest, I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe I can now say goodbye to Alexa on my Amazon Echo (65 US-Dollar im Google Store) once and for all.

I have a ton of smart home devices and I want them to turn on and off or switch to a different setting without having to walk around all day yelling at my smart speakers. A big part of it is that I want all of the lights and other appliances in my house to be turned off when I leave and turned on again when I come back without saying a word. Until now, Google Home hasn’t had a way to automate something like this, so I let Alexa handle it.

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The first thing I noticed when setting up Home & Away in the Google Home app was that it can do a lot more than Alexa. With the Amazon Echo, you can only create a routine that is triggered when a certain device (e.g. your phone) leaves or arrives at a certain location (e.g. your home). Google Home, on the other hand, can keep an eye on it several Devices that belong to everyone in your household. But not only that – Google Home can keep an eye on certain devices you also.

Now that Home & Away appears to be available on iPhones ($ 699 on Amazon) and Android phones everywhere, here is all you need to do to set it up and bask in home automation.


Google Home can use the motion sensor in your Nest Learning Thermostat to tell if someone is home.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Your Google Home app should ask you to set it up

When you open the Google Home app and see a tab at the top that says Set up home and away routinesTap on it to get started. If you’ve closed this tab without setting it up, just tap Routines On the Google Home app home screen, click, then click under Home routines Tap At home. (If you’ve already set it up but want to make changes, skip to the next section.)

When you set up Home & Away for the first time, the app prompts you for a number of permissions, asking you to set up your home and away routines, and add your home address. Go ahead and tap Agree, configuration and Next until you come to Add your home address Screen (there is an easier and better way to set up both the presence setting and the home and away routines after the setup is complete, so skip these for now). Enter your home address and tap Next then Finished Exit setup. Now for the fun part.

Set up your home and away routines

Of the Google Home App Home screen, tap Routines Then tap either At home or path. Under How to get startedshould say it When someone comes home or When everyone is gone. You can tap it to adjust the presence settings (more on that in a moment), but now let’s see what to do when everyone leaves or someone comes home.



Google Home can monitor your phone’s location to trigger home and out-of-office routines.


Tap Add action to view a list of all devices that you can control with these routines. Smart lightbulbs is listed first under lighting. You can set them to rotate out or on and you can change yours brightness, but unfortunately you can’t set what color they should be (at least not with the Philips Hue bulbs I have).

You should see smart plugs (25 US-Dollar bei Amazon) next under plug. I have a variety of brands but all of them can only be set to rotate on or out. My nest learning thermostat ($ 159 at Back Market) is next on the list – there is an eco mode that can save you bills when you are not at home, but I don’t use it in case I leave my dolls behind. You should also see all of the Nest Aware cameras and any other smart home devices that you can control using this routine.

You can select multiple devices of the same type, for example if you want to turn a whole range of lights on or off. Just tap the check boxes next to the gadgets you want to control, and then tap Next. Decide what to do (on, out, brightness), then tap Add action.



Google Home’s new home and out of office routines create location triggers to control other smart home devices, such as the home. B. Smart Bulbs.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Help Google know when someone is home

For this to work you have to Presence detection Settings have to be brought to the point. Open that Google Home App and tap the settings Tab, and then tap Presence detection. Make sure the tab for is checked Allow this home to use phone locations. Under the headline telephone, you should see your own phone, as well as others (including tablets) connected to everyone in your household, each with a toggle switch. You may want to turn the switch off for any devices that are left behind when you leave the device – such as tablets that only have WiFi.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a list of all the smart home devices from Google Home or Google Nest, which you can also use to determine if someone is home. For example, I have a third generation Nest Learning Thermostat that has a motion sensor, so I have a switch for that. You may want to turn some or all of these off if, for example, you have a free range pet that may trigger them. My dog ​​either goes with me or in his crate, so I left mine on.

You can find more tips and tricks to make your life easier here How do you use Google Home like an intercom?, how to turn it into a speakerphone and In all ways, Google Home is a wizard with words.

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