Google I/O Replaced with “Hey Google” Smart Home Virtual Summit
Google is replacing its annual conferences with a virtual presentation that will stream live on July 8. The “Hey Google” Smart Home Virtual Summit will provide Google Assistant developers a look at recent and upcoming changes in the voice assistant’s abilities related to smart homes.
The virtual summit is Google’s response to canceling its usual events due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. Google’s I/O, Global Developer Summits, and EMEA Smart Home Summit have all been removed from this year’s calendar. The July 8 event is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern but is set to stream at different times in different regions of the globe.
“Over the past year, we’ve been focused on building new tools and features to support our smart home developer community,” Google said in its announcement. “Join us for a discussion with some of the biggest names in smart home and hear their view on the impact of Covid-19 on their business, and a glimpse at the Smart Home industry in general.”
The virtual conference will be relatively brief compared to the multi-day extravaganzas of the standard tech conferences. The conference will begin with a keynote speech by Michele Turner, the product management director for Google’s Smart Home Ecosystem. She will discuss some of Google’s ongoing smart home projects and new products, specifically with how developers can leverage those new features and better apply their ideas to Google Assistant. She will be followed by a panel discussion led by Vera Tzoneva, Google’s head of assistant distribution partnerships. Tzoneva will talk with smart home product developers who partner with Google, including representatives from Vizio, IKEA, Tuya, and LG.
Google hinted that it would reveal new products and services at the event, although it’s not clear what will specifically be discussed. There have been leaks about upcoming announcements, such as documentation for Google Assistant to support new doorbells and laundry appliances, but that may not be relevant to the event. Last year saw the arrival of the entry-level Nest Mini smart speaker, the Nest Hub Max smart display, and a Google Assistant-enabled Nest Wifi mesh router.
More recently, The company has been rapidly expanding and updating its smart home-related features, including a revamped Nest Aware subscription service and native support for sensors like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The company also enhanced the setup process for Voice Match to make it more secure and accurate and adding it to all compatible devices. Google has even begun a pilot program that augments voice-enabled purchases with Voice Match.