Google recently launched a new app called Action Blocks as an accessibility feature for Android. This app helps people to take advantage of Google Assistant by placing Google Assistant shortcuts on the home screen. Anyhow, everyone can take advantage of it and use them to create reminders, set alarms to a specific time, playing your favorite playlist, etc with just a single tap.
The best part is that you can use it on your Android phone and make it like a home control remote to control smart lights, TVs, doors, cameras, and any other smart gadget that support Google Assistant. You can even use your old phone so that you can leave that on the table as a smart home dashboard. Or you can use it on your phone to use it as a remote. Let’s set it up.
Turn your old phone into a Home Control Dashboard
1. Setup Smart Home Devices on your Google Account
First, you need to set up all the smart home gadgets with the help of the Google Home app. To do that, just download and open the Google Home app > click on the plus icon > Set up device > set up new device in your home > select the home and complete the setup process.
Google Home app will guide you to connect the device to wifi and set it up completely. Once done, you can access the device with the help of Google Assistant. For example, you can switch on the smart light by saying ” Hey Google, Turn on the office lights”.
2. Setup Action Blocks
Google Assistant is voice-enabled and to use it as a Home Control Device, you need to download the Action Blocks app. Once downloaded, open the Action Block app, click on create Action Block at the bottom of the app, and click on create a custom action and type the command.
I suggest you turn off Always speak action out loud option so that it won’t be disturbing you all the time. You can also test the command by clicking on the Test action button and tap on Next. Choose the image and give the command a name and click on save Action Block.
It will show a pop-up asking to add the widget to the home screen, click on Add automatically. It will add a widget on the home screen, you can long-press it to adjust the placement and size of the widget.
Now once you click on the Action block, it will open the Google Assistant and turn on the lights or execute a command you have set. You can even control the brightness, color, etc features of it right from the Google Assistant. Similarly, it works the same for any kind of smart home product. You can do that same thing for all your smart home gadgets in your home. If you using it as a smart home dashboard, I suggest you use in landscape mode.
Just like Google Nest Hub, you can also access Google Assistant with the wake work “Ok, Google”. And you can also customize brightness and colors for bulbs, change the volume for smart devices like speakers, open nest cameras, access your photos, emails, and can also access your commute by logging to Google Account. But one feature you can miss is tailored suggestions for each individual. And also remember that everyone in the home can access it. It kind of reminds me of Siri Shortcuts for iOS but a lot simpler. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.