Google Assistant Hits 50,000 Smart Home Device Milestone
Google Assistant operates in more than 50,000 smart home devices made by more than 5,500 brands, according to the company’s documentation as first spotted by Android Police. That’s a five-fold increase from about two years ago, and the pace is likely to accelerate as Google works to integrate the voice assistant even more closely into third-party devices.
The updated number was discovered on the Nest Help documentation. The growth curve is remarkable. At the beginning of 2018, Google Assistant claimed to be available on 400 million individual devices but didn’t indicate how many of them were smart home devices. Google Assistant is much more prevalent than that number would suggest as it leaves out every smartphone and other product capable of supporting the voice assistant. The definition of smart home devices is quite broad, however. Smart light bulbs alone likely account for a good chunk, as would televisions, speakers, and other entertainment equipment. Google is opening up the Smart Home for Entertainment Device (SHED) API to any developer who wants to integrate Google Assistant into a smart TV, video game console, or set-top box. SHED debuted last year but was limited to certain brands that partnered with Google, such as Roku and LG. By extending the API to any developer, the number and variety of entertainment devices that Google Assistant can potentially access has instantly grown enormously.
Cameras and security devices are on the rise too, and will likely become even more common thanks to Google’s recent partnership with and $450 million investment in home security mainstay ADT. Still, almost every appliance in a home has at least one brand making a smart version with Google Assistant. Networked ovens, beds, and even more esoteric machines like doorbells and laundry stylers are starting to appear. Google may be celebrating the 100,000 device milestone very soon, possibly with a bit more fanfare.
The Android 11 operating system is supposed to make it easier for people to run their Google Assistant-powered smart homes when it finishes rolling out this year. The operating system has a section specifically for controlling smart home devices where users can set the controls they want to include in the menu and can access Google Assistant-controlled devices in the power menu. Google Assistant will also be able to automatically run different routines depending on whether there are people home. This was already a feature for Nest, but will now be an element of Google Assistant, relying on “presence detection” tech to decide whether to run the routines set up on devices for when everyone is away. The makers of smart devices will be a part of those routines soon when they will be able to create and suggest customized routines to users.