The title of this story might be a little confusing as Google Home has been able to control various smart devices around your network. However, the company has breathed additional life into the app, allowing it to further control additional devices like a remote control. So what is the difference?
Before, you could add Google-compatible devices to Google Home where you can see them as part of your Google Home ecosystem and could control them via routines or other Google/Nest devices by either voice or via Google Assistant app on your phone/tablet.
Unlike certain alternatives like SmartThings, Vera, Smart Life, and other smart home ecosystem/hub choices, you couldn’t dive deep into the app manually to control the various devices. You had to use automations to accomplish this (routines). Unless, those devices have Android TV or Google TV onboard.
That is starting to change now as the company seems to be targeting some of these other hubs by offering similar features. It doesn’t work for all devices, but certain smart TVs, fans, or even IR hub instances, are showing up with additional options. When you click on them, you can see multiple buttons to choose from. Allowing you to control things like input/source, channels, volume, and more.
It isn’t much but it is nice to be able to control multiple devices from a single remote. Especially, if you have fully automated your living room, allowing you to store your remotes up somewhere to reduce clutter. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to adjust something outside of your automations, you can just pull your phone out and possibly get it done from there (vs hunting down the remote).
Your options are simple as you are limited to so many button choices, but it does seem the most common options are there. Also, each device may show up differently (ie, an LG TV vs a Samsung TV). In the example that can be seen in the above header image, you can see buttons available for a “Bedroom TV”. That is actually an instance created via an IR blaster in the room. It the TV was smart, it would have had some additional buttons on the screen.
It’s a step in the right direction though as many will likely find this to be quite useful at times.