The Google Home app on Android started out differently, and was initially a companion app for the Google Chromecast. With the Google Home and other smart home devices launching, the app has been rebranded as Google Home, and serves as the companion app for the entire suite of products including the Google Home smart speaker series.
As far as the Chromecast is concerned, the app doesn’t do more than the initially pairing and setting up the device with your home Wi-Fi connection. Beyond that, using the app is optional, since most of the features are available directly through other apps such as Netflix, YouTube and HotStar, to name a few. Similarly, you can directly screen mirror your phone through the settings on most Android phones.
However, the Google Home app now serves as a platform to help find content that can be used with companion devices. While the app recently got a redesign, a new redesign is currently rolling out on a testing basis. A report by XDA Developers shows changes to the design, as seen below.
The key difference is the sidebar menu has been removed, and you’ll notice that there is no sandwich menu icon anymore. While the fonts and layout remain largely the same, the menu has been moved to the profile icon in the bottom right corner. the devices icon also sees duplication, which comes across as a bit odd. Most of these changes as subtle and don’t indicate much, but Google does seem to be aiming to bring all of its software products under a similar design philosophy and language.
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On a related note, the Google Home and Google Home Mini speakers were launched in April this year, and are Google’s smart speaker series with Google Assistant built-in. The speaker can be used as a standard wireless speaker, but also allows users to interact with the AI-based voice assistant in their homes, in order to get information as you would summon Google Assistant on your smartphone.