Google Assistant Adds Support for Passive Sensors, Laying Foundation for More Responsive Smart Homes
Google Assistant has added native support for new sensors, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, according to an Android Police report. The updated Smart Home Device Type list now includes sensor-only devices, bringing new potential options to the voice assistant’s smart home integration.
Action and Sensing
The new additions to the sensor list make it possible for third-party device makers to integrate Google Assistant into sensor-only devices that can measure air quality, humidity, light, motion, water softness, and other elements. This direct inclusion makes it possible to ask Google Assistant directly about each of those conditions individually. Smoke and carbon monoxide are now their own category of sensor and there is also an update to the security system support allowing the voice assistant to report on each sensor’s status separately.
Google Assistant is built around actions initiated by users. When it comes to smart home devices, people have to ask for changes in temperature, lighting, and other home systems. They can be scheduled out, but it all begins with a verbal request. The updated support list lays out a potential road to passive alerts. The voice assistant could theoretically adjust the blinds based on how much light is coming in, tell you to switch out a water filter, or open a window when a smoke or carbon monoxide sensor is triggered.
Google’s Smarter Homes
Google’s strategy to make Google Assistant the easiest and most convenient smart home voice assistant encompasses a growing list of products and features. The Nest Wifi router with Google Assistant built-in and the low-cost Google Home Mini make it cheaper and easier to bring Google Assistant into the home, while features like SiriusXM and enabling users to transfer audio and video between smart devices entice owners to expand the number of Google Assistant-enabled devices they own. The system is hardly flawless yet, however. It took a year for Google to address a Bluetooth bug in its smart speakers, the kind of mild but annoying issue that can turn people off a voice assistant for good.
Passive sensor support and their potential for controlling smart homes enhance that attraction, which Google will need to compete with the smart home offerings created by Amazon and other rivals. On top of this, plenty of people are anxious about potential privacy and security compromises they may face if they start using voice assistants. That’s one reason Google boosted security for Google Nest smart home products last month and will likely make a big deal about the smoke and carbon monoxide detection capabilities of Google Assistant when it’s ready.