Google announces new Google Assistant features for Developers at Smart Home Summit

Google kicked off its Works with “Hey Google” Smart Home Summit event this week. The event will take 2 days to show developers the new features for Google Assistant. Google plans to announce the new features as part of the Android 11 release on September 8, 2020. They have:

  • improved the WWGA (Works with Google Assistant) ecosystem,
  • made it easier to connect to your entertainment devices,
  • gently wake you up in the morning,
  • made you devices respond quicker
  • connect your nest products to your home security. Yes, you should read below
  • and are getting developers ready for the launch of Connected over Home IP open protocol.
  • Oh ya, as I said, they are launching Android 11 on September 8, 2020.

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Hey Google Smart Home Keynote

True automation. Google is working to make it more convenient for users to manage their smart home.

Works with Google Assistant Ecosystem

Google has determined that in the US, 80% have a connected TV. Google announced last year at the Google I/O summit that they were working with devices developers of set-top boxes, smart speakers, and gaming consoles with companies like Dish, Xbox, Roku, and LG.

The public release for Smart Home for Entertainment Devices (SHED)

Google is publicly releasing its new Smart Home API, the Smart Home for Entertainment Devices, or SHED or anybody to use. Google has released SHED traits or SHED capabilities to allow you to say things like “Change to HDMI 2” or “Hey Google, Play Gears 5 on Xbox” or “Hey Google, play ESPN”

Gentle Sleep & Wake Feature

Google has made it easier to manage your rest and sleep cycles with Alarm Integration, Scheduled Commands, and Immediate Command to create a Gentle Sleep/Wake feature. The Gentle Wake feature will gradually brighten the lights 30 minutes before your wake-up alarm. The Gentle Sleep feature will slowly dim your children’s lights at bedtime. Google is encouraging developers to help improve sleep education and experiences through their own apps.

Mobile Footprint on Android 11 OS Launch

Google started by using voice control for users to manage their smart home, however, have added touch controls in their Google Home app. Sometimes the voice and touch complement each other. Google will now integrate these commands within the new release of Android 11. You will be able to manage your smart home straight from the home screens in the new Android OS. Users will have to authenticate in order to use these controls.

Local Home SDK

Now Google had released the new Local Home SDK earlier this year. The idea was to reduce the amount of time your devices responded to your commands. At the time, the focus was on smart lighting, reducing the time it took to turn on a light. Google had worked on reducing latency to less than 300ms. Google had determined that if they could get the smart devices (phone, hub) to do some of the processing, instead of taking the command to the cloud and back to your device, you would experience quicker responses from your smart devices. They were right! Make the commands local, and we get better smart home automation!

Well, now the Local Home SDK is ready for real-time control with partners such as:

  • Yeelight
  • Wiz
  • Tile
  • LIFX
  • Sengled
  • Nanoleaf
  • Philips Hue
  • Kasa Smart
  • GE Lighting
  • Home-A-Genius

App Flip

Google will also release a feature that allows users to ‘flip’ or App Flip between the Google Home App and the Developer App and vice versa to ensure that you can see how the function works and create better routines for your home.

Moving beyond Works with Nest Transition

Google announced earlier that they were working to transition users from the Works with Nest platform to the Works with Google Assisant (WWGA) system. It was an effort to improve privacy and security for smart home users.

Google Device Access

Google has developed Device Access with allows control of Nest devices within partner apps. Does this mean that you’ll be able to control your Nest Cam with your current home security or current smart home ecoystem!? It looks like that’s the case. Imagine telling your Dish entertainment system to show the front Nest camera. Yes, you’ll be able to do that too. As long as the partner device is part of of the Google security program, users will be able to connect their Nest devices. Google is releasing the new Devices Access tools to developers.

Google Home & Away Routines

Google is taking the Device Access a step further. They are optimizing the Home and Away Routines based on Presence Detection. Users will have full control over what device and location data is collected to determine if someone is home or not. Not only that, but they will be able to then use Nest Devices to integrate and trigger Home & Away routines. Users can build the Home & Away routines themselves or allow the developers to have their set routines. Now developers will be able to create and suggest routines for their device and for 3rd party devices connected through Google Home.

Project Connected Home over IP (Project CHIP)

We’ve heard a lot about this collaboration: Project Connected Home over IP (Project CHIP). In December 2019, Google annnounced that they were joining Project CHIP. The intent is to reduce the protocol fragmentation (meaning there are too many communication protocols and frequencies) being used to manage your smart home devices. If a number of major players like Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung and Tuya got together, we could manage all their devices with one integrated communication protocol. It was decided that they would work on a Zigbee communication protocol that could work on all these devices. Developers would build their device to one open standard, and the user would choose which platform (i.e. Google Assistant, HomeKit, Alexa, Bixby, SmartLife) they wanted to run their smart home. Sounds convenient, doesn’t it?

The Open Standard would work over IP (internet protocol) to bring all these devices together, and use technologies like

  • WiFi
  • Thread for low- power mesh
  • Bluetooth for device commissioning.

Google has worked on technologies like this for years. It’s great to see that they are now bringing it together, making it ready for late 2020.

Google Assistant Features in Development announced in Smart Home Summit 2020

Google has shown that it has been working at improving their Smart Home API and Local Home SDK. There are thousands of partner developers under Google’s belt which makes the Google Assistant or Google Home platform one of the most integrated and robust platforms on the planet with privacy and security at their core. Google has adopted pretty much every product category in the smart home market and worked to build deeper in-home integrations through the Connected Home over IP project.