Icons in Google Home

I recently discovered the Google Home app and I absolutely love it. Just to be clear, I don’t have a physical Google Home device or mini at all, I am an Alexa guy on that front. However, I find the GH app to be far superior in look and feel than the Alexa app. I also find it friendlier than the native ST app as well. I was actually amazed that I could ingest all my ST Zwave things into this app and link up my speakers too. So I can talk to my phone or my android watch to control my home. It is pretty sweet. This plus my HousePanel together are now my preferred way on manually doing things in my home. My only gripe and this request for community help is some switches show up as light bulb icons and some lights show up as switch icons. Most are proper guesses but not all. The assignment of thing type seems random between switch and light and I can’t figure out how to change this. Does anyone know if this can be overridden in GH? Or set somewhere else on the ST side? I didn’t see it under the thing settings.

See image for an example. The bottom two items are lights, not switches.

Google Home is a little odd post revamp. I just changed the name of a switch to add the word light. It was combined with ‘Bedroom Light’ into one icon with two ‘Bedroom Lights’. Just as you have a group with four.

It would be interesting to know what happens if you add the word ‘Light’ or ‘Lamp’ to those icons. Actually it would also be interesting to know if they are already in your ‘Bedroom Lights’ group.

Yes, the two circled light switches are already part of the light group shown above

Is the difference in icon selection related to dimmers versus switches? Just a guess…

Yup!!! Dang, you nailed it. That is exactly what appears to be happening. All the ones showing up as switches are not dimmers. Well that is just plain stupid… okay well at least I know what is going on. SmartThings reports non dimmers as Switches and it reports dimmers as Lights. I will see if I can modify that, but I’m not optimistic.

But wait… Bedroom Main is a dimmer, so it isn’t quite so clean.

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If you look at the Google SmartApp in the mobile app you will see it authorises devices in the categories ‘Switches’, ‘Thermostats’, ‘Heaters’, ‘Locks’, ‘Contact Sensors’ and ‘Temperature Sensors’. There isn’t a separate category for ‘Lights’ and indeed the ‘Light’ capability is deprecated in SmartThings.

Although Google Home has separate device types for ‘light’, ‘switch’ and ‘outlet’, I could well imagine SmartThings just using ‘switch’ for everything when communicating with Google.

My brief testing mentioned earlier did show that adding the word ‘Light’ or ‘Lamp’ to the name of a switch in Google caused it to be added to the group of lights. Unfortunately in my case the individual icons disappeared which I suspect is a bug. In your case the switches are already in the group of lights but I wonder if the icon would be changed as a result of adding e.g. ‘Light’ to the name in a) SmartThings itself, or b) by editing the device in Google Home.

A Google ‘switch’ is a basic object which just has On/Off as the recommended ‘trait’. A ‘light’ has the additional recommended traits of Brightness, Colour Spectrum and Colour Temperature. I am wondering if your switches have the corresponding capabilities in SmartThings and these are passed as additional traits which makes Google Home place them in the Bedroom Lights group, but not change the icons. It seems a bit inconsistent, but then the Google Home app is rather quirky at the moment (the current look and feel is quite a recent change).

Thanks for this very useful explanation. In my case adding the word Light had no effect at all. I tried on several things. I also noticed that even when a dimmer is shown with a switch icon, opening that icon still shows the dimmer control. So I have decided that the visual icon makes no difference and has no logic associated with it. It appears somewhat random. SmartThings dinners in my case are of type “switchlevel” not light, and sometimes it is interpreted as switch and other times as light. So who knows. Fortunately it always works as a dimmer so all good.