Google Home Resurrects as Smart Home Platform
Google Home has returned from its supposed retirement last year in favor of Google Nest branding, not as a smart speaker, but as the name of the tech giant’s new smart home developer platform and toolset. The Google Home developer platform is named in honor of the smart speaker for its role in launching Google’s smart home ecosystem. That said, the new and improved tools and features introduced on Thursday are all designed around advising and guiding smart home developers to engage with Matter, the open smart home application protocol that the major smart home developers have agreed to be part of so that smart devices aren’t isolated and limited to a single voice assistant or device management AI.
Google Home Reborn
Google Home encompasses the Google Smart Home platform, developer program and Works with Google Nest networks device partnerships. The goal is a streamlined and simplified process that will allow for more companies to build on the platform and innovate ways to run smart devices with Google Assistant. The result is the completely revamped Google Home Developer Center, where Google will house all of its developer resources. Everything from prototyping, testing, and resulting data analysis will be set under the Google Home umbrella, including setting up automatic functions and circumstance-specific routines.
“By bringing our platform and tools under the same roof, it gives us a simpler way to show you why and how integrating your devices with Google Home makes them more accessible and helpful across the Google ecosystem,” Google smart home ecosystem senior director of products Michele Turner explained during the event. “Launching early next year, you’ll have access to our new Google Home Developer Center that will have everything you need to learn and build smart home devices, applications, and automation with Google. It’s a total redesign of our developer site and console, focused on major upgrades to navigation, and new self-serve tools for both developers and their business teams.”
Matter, SDK, IDE
“Our journey as an ecosystem started five years ago with the Google Home speaker and Google Assistant. It has grown into a powerful platform, supporting new smart speakers and displays, Android, Nest, and the Google Home app. It also includes an ecosystem of tens of thousands of devices made by partners and developers like you, enabling Google users to engage with over 200 million devices, and making the smart home more than the sum of its parts,”
Turner and many of the other speakers emphasized how much the Matter protocol lies at the center of the upgrade. Google and the other participants in Matter are hoping developers will adopt and adapt to Matter as quickly as possible. Some of the technical and regulatory headaches Google, Amazon, and their partners deal with would fade rapidly if Matter is used as the default protocol. Google Nest and Android devices will also support Matter, which will allow a lot of flexibility for developers in customizing their products, in addition to speeding along the process. Smoothing the path for developers is also the purpose of the new Google Home Mobile SDK, except the mobile version is for deploying Android apps that can support Matter APIs at the same time. The result should theoretically give Android device owners very smooth and easy to set up native experiences.
Google also unveiled the Google Home SDK to augment Matter and ease integration with Google Assistant on different devices. Google’s deployment arsenal has also been boosted via the new Google Home IDE. Turner described the IDE as a solution that developers will feel familiar with, ensuring they will hook up with Google’s network. The Google Home IDE also works as a companion to the popular Visual Studio Code for coming up with new smart home devices. Of course, all of that hangs on a presumption that developers with visual plans want to use it.
“It confuses me a little that they chose to build the IDE into the VS Code IDE since many of the developers will also be using Android, so will need to use Android Studio, which is based off the IntelliJ IDE,” Objective Consulting project guru and Google Developer Expert Allen Firstenberg told Voicebot in an interview. “But there is no doubt that having some of the tools that were previously only in some scattered web-based tools starting to come together in one place will make parts of the development easier. And the promise that future parts will also be available in this IDE will make it easier still going forward. Access to the logs right next to testing, for example, is a huge win.”