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Google Opens Up Its Smart Home To Everyone

Published by Slashdot on Thu, 16 May 2024

Google is opening up API access to its Google Home smart home platform, allowing app developers to access over 600 million connected devices and tap into the Google Home automation engine. In addition, Google announced that it'll be turning Google TVs into Google Home hubs and Matter controllers. The Verge reports: The Home APIs can access any Matter device or Works with Google Home device, and allows developers to build their own experiences using Google Home devices and automations into their apps on both iOS and Android. This is a significant move for Google in opening up its smart home platform, following shutting down its Works with Nest program back in 2019. [...] The Home APIs are already available to Google's early access partners, and Google is opening up a waitlist for any developer to sign up today. "We are opening up access on a rolling basis so they can begin building and testing within their apps," Anish Kattukaran, head of product at Google Home and Nest, told The Verge. "The first apps using the home APIs will be able to publish to the Play and App stores in the fall." The access is not just limited to smart home developers. In the blog post, Matt Van Der Staay, engineering director at Google Home, said the Home APIs could be used to connect smart home devices to fitness or delivery apps. "You can build a complex app to manage any aspect of a smart home, or simply integrate with a smart device to solve pain points -- like turning on the lights automatically before the food delivery driver arrives." The APIs allow access to most devices connected to Google Home and to the Google Home structure, letting apps control and manage devices such as Matter light bulbs or the Nest Learning Thermostat. They also leverage Google Home's automation signals, such as motion from sensors, an appliance's mode changing, or Google's Home and Away mode, which uses various signals to determine if a home is occupied. [...] What's also interesting here is that developers will be able to use the APIs to access and control any device that works with the new smart home standard Matter and even let people set up Matter devices directly in their app. This should make it easier for them to implement Matter into their apps, as it will add devices to the Google Home fabric, so they won't have to develop their own. In addition, Google announced that it's vastly expanding its Matter infrastructure by turning Google TVs into Google Home hubs and Matter controllers. Any app using the APIs would need a Google hub in a customer's home in order to control Matter devices locally. Later this year, Chromecast with Google TV, select panel TVs with Google TV running Android 14 or higher, and some LG TVs will be upgraded to become Google Home hubs. Additionally, Kattukaran said Google will upgrade all of its existing home hubs -- which include Nest Hub (second-gen), Nest Hub Max, and Google Wifi -- with a new ability called Home runtime. "With this update, all hubs for Google Home will be able to directly route commands from any app built with Home APIs (such as the Google Home app) to a customer's Matter device locally, when the phone is on the same Wi-Fi network as the hub," said Kattukaran. This means you should see "significant latency improvements using local control via a hub for Google Home," he added.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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