How to set up geofencing for Google
How to set up geofencing for Google

How to set up geofencing for Google

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If you’re ready to upgrade your smart home, it’s time to think about geofencing. It refers to intelligent routines that program the device to act in certain ways, depending on your location. For example, you can set up a geofencing action for your address so that when your phone is detected it returns to your benign state, the smart lock on your front door will unlock.

Geofencing can be very useful in the right home, and Google makes it easy thanks to features like Home and Go routines built into the Google Home app. Let’s go over how it works, how to set it up properly, and everything you should know.

How to use the At Home and Go routine with Google

For the Go routine to work, you’ll need to install and set up the Google Home app before you start. It is a free download and is available on many platforms, including Android and iOS. If you have the Google Home app, make sure it’s updated and ready for a new routine.

Step 1: Make sure you have a compatible smart device. You’ll want a device that’s declared compatible with Google Home/Google Assistant. That includes all Nest devices and many smart lights, smart plugs, smart locks, smart switches and so on. You have many options, with more coming over time. If you’re buying a new smart device, look for Matter compatibility, as this will ensure it works with Google Home and other apps if you decide to make the switch someday.

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The smart device you want to use must be set up and connected to Google Home before you begin these steps.

Step 2: Open the Google Home app. The home screen will suggest what you can do, and one of the options is Set up a Home & Go routine on. Choose to start.

Home Settings and Go Routines.

Step 3: Google Home provides some examples of things you can set up, such as turning on the light when someone arrives home or turning on Energy Saving mode for the Nest Thermostat when you leave the house. This is just a suggestion, and you will see all the available options later. Choose Prepare to continue.

Step 4: Now you will see two sections, one for Home routine and one for Away routine. You can program both as you wish. In that section, your compatible and connected devices will be listed. Choose one to get started.

Home Routine Device in Home App.

Step 5: Depending on the device, Google Home will give you various options for programming. This feature is especially easy with Nest devices, as Google has pre-built geofencing suggestions, but it’s a simple system to use with any compatible device. Choose how you want the device to behave, such as a thermostat switching to and from Economy mode. Choose Carry on when you are done.

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Step 6: Do the same with the Away routine. Remember, you can program multiple devices to act in different ways based on your geofencing location. When finished, select Carry on.

Step 7: Google Home will now notify you of presence detection and ask if you want to use your phone’s location for presence detection. This is how geofencing works – it uses your phone’s location to decide whether or not you’re home at your address. For this to work, you need to enable Always active location-based services for applications. Location services can be uncomfortable for some people, and we’ll explore alternatives below, but these are the most accurate options. Choose Agree to continue, and make any necessary settings changes.

Google Home Location Services.

Step 8: Google will now ask if you want to enable additional devices in your home with presence detection. Home will default to this alternative if you choose not to use location services. The bottom line is that you need a device with presence sensing technology that can detect whether people are moving around the house or not. Nest thermostats and Nest Protect, along with the Nest Hub, have this technology, so you’ll need one of these to enable this option.

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On the bright side, this alternative doesn’t require any location-based activity on your phone, and can tell when everyone is out, not just you. On the downside, it’s not always as accurate (perhaps triggered by pets, kids, etc.) as location services on your phone, and may activate Home routines even when you’re away.

Step 9: Add your home address. Google needs this to properly use geofencing, so it’s necessary if you’re using your phone for location tracking. Confirm your location on the map once done. Now you should be ready to choose Complete and practice your routine.

What about other types of geofencing with Google?

Home and Go Routines is Google Home’s method of adding geofencing to your smart home. If you’re interested in more customizable geofencing options – that is, choosing what devices do when you arrive at work – you might want to take a look at Alexa’s geofencing options, as they offer more address programming options.

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