Google launches new Home APIs and turns Google TV into a smart home hub

Google has announced that it is opening up API access to its Google Home smart home platform. This means that any app creator – smart home related or not – can access the over 600 million devices connected to Google Home and the Google Home Automation Engine to build smart solutions for their users inside their apps. Can tap.

The Home API can access any Matter device or Works with Google Home device, and allows developers to create their own experiences using Google Home devices and automation in their apps on both iOS and Android. This is an important step for Google towards opening up its smart home platform, after shutting down its Works with Nest program in 2019.

In a blog post published during its Google I/O developer conference this week, Google said some of its first partners to use the Home API include ADT and Eve. The home security company, in which Google is an investor, is launching a new Trusted Neighbors feature that leverages Google smart home products to let customers “provide secure and temporary access to their homes for neighbors, friends or assistants.” .

Smart home device maker Eve is using the API to bring its app to Android for the first time “and build helpful automations like lowering the blinds when the temperature drops at night.” Additionally, Google Pixel devices will “use APIs to bridge the digital and physical worlds so that bedtime mode can not only dim your screen, but automatically dim your bedroom lights, reduce shades And be able to lock the front door.”

The Home API is already available to Google's early access partners, and Google is opening a waiting list today for any developers to sign up. “We're opening up access on a rolling basis so they can start building and testing within their apps,” said Anish Kattukaran, product lead for Google Home and Nest. the verge, “The first apps using the Home API will be able to be published on Play and the App Store in the autumn.”

While the Nest Learning Thermostat still doesn't support Matter, with Google Home's new Home API, developers will be able to integrate it directly into their apps.
Image: Google

Access isn't limited to just smart home developers. In a blog post, Google Home engineering director Matt van der Ste said that the Home API could be used to connect smart home devices to fitness or delivery apps. “You can create a complex app to manage any aspect of a smart home, or simply integrate with a smart device to solve problem points – such as automatically ordering a meal before the delivery driver arrives. To turn on the lights.”

He also cited ideas like a workout app that can keep you cool while working out by turning on a fan or a vacation rental app that can prepare the home for guests by turning on lights and adjusting the temperature.

APIs allow access to Google Home and most devices connected to the Google Home infrastructure, allowing apps to control and manage devices like Matter light bulbs or Nest Learning thermostats. They also take advantage of Google Home's automation signals, such as motion from a sensor, a device's mode changing, or Google's Home and Away mode, which uses various cues to determine whether the home is occupied or not. .

Van der Ste said smart lock maker Yale is using an automation API to allow its users to set the lights to go on when the front door is unlocked at night through its Yale Access app. However, Kattukaran said that while the company plans to make all devices available through the Home API, “V1.0 may not include a limited set of devices (for example, cameras).”

Although these types of automations can be set up in the Google Home app today, expanding to other apps could really increase the appeal and reach of the smart home. This will allow smart home developers to create more powerful apps taking advantage of all the devices that can connect to Google Home, just as developers had access to the Nest Learning Thermostat using the Works with Nest program, Until Google shut it down citing security concerns.

Van der Ste said the new program is designed to be private and secure. “Users are always in control and need to be explicitly granted access to their infrastructure and smart home devices before they can access an app. And they can easily revoke access at any time from the Google Home app. Developers must also pass authentication to use the API.

Google is turning its TVs into smart home hubs with local control of devices

What's interesting here is that developers will be able to use the API 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 apps. Will also provide facility. This will make it easier for them to implement Matter into their own apps, as it will add devices to Google Home Fabric, so they won't have to develop their own.

Additionally, Google announced that it is massively expanding its Matter infrastructure by turning Google TV into a Google Home Hub and Matter controller. Any app using the API will require a Google Hub in the customer's home to control the Matter device 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. (I've asked Google if they'll also be thread-enabled and will update when I hear back.)

Additionally, Kattukaran said Google will upgrade all of its existing Home Hubs — including the Nest Hub (2nd generation), Nest Hub Max, and Google WiFi — with a new capability called Home Runtime.

“All Google Home hubs will be able to send commands directly to a customer's Matter device locally from any app built with the Home API”

“With this update, all Google Home hubs will be able to route commands from any app built with the Home API (such as the Google Home app) directly to a customer's Matter device locally, when the phone is on the same Wi-Fi network. Be on a Fi network. As a hub,” Kattukaran said. This means you should see “significant latency improvements using local control through a hub for Google Home.”

This is a big step forward for Google Home and smart homes in general. Although the platform has seen improvements over the past year, it still suffers from a lack of automation options and slow response times due to its reliance on the cloud. With new automation signals, including eventually adding open and close to contact sensors and temperature changes as signals, as well as local control of Miter devices, the tools are in place for a powerful smart home platform.

I'm also excited to see what developers — and other platforms — do with this kind of access to Google's tools and automation. This is a significant change that could take the smart home from niche to essential.

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