Google announces new tools to bring more smart home Matter devices to market

Cupertino, November 7, 2021

Google took a look at how the new Matter smart home standard might actually work in our smart homes today and it looks pretty interesting. At the Google Smart Home Developer Summit, the company announced new tools to help developers build devices that work with both Google Home, the new Matter connectivity standard, and any other Matter-complaint ecosystems. This means that, yes - one day, very soon - the (new) Nest Thermostat could work in the Apple Home application without the need for a Home Assistant or other solutions. And if the two can work together, well, anyone can.

Coming next year, Matter is an open smart home application protocol that promises to make smart home devices talk to each other, not material who made them. He wants to take the hard work out of choosing, setting up and integrating devices with your smart home and voice assistants.

"The subject is a great initiative for us," Kevin Po, Senior Product Manager at Google, told me in a briefing ahead of today's announcements. "It will really solve this choice of interoperability, that frustrating shopping and configuration experience for the user."

At Smart Home Summit, Google shared pictures of how your device setup can work with Matter-enabled devices in various applications.
Image: Google

At the event, the company doubled its commitment to support Matter and its main support protocol, Thread (a low-power mesh network), throughout its ecosystem. It also unveiled a new name for its smart home efforts: Google Home. While consumers have been familiar with this name for some time, on the backend, developers have faced a multitude of different services that they had to understand and choose in order to figure out how to make their device work. works with Google Assistant and Google Nest devices.

The new Google Home brings under one umbrella the development for device configuration, automation capabilities, voice control and Android and Google Nest devices. The new name is "for our entire smart home platform and development program," said Michele Turner, senior product manager for the Smart Home Ecosystem at Google, during the event's keynote address.

A new Google Home Developer Center has also been announced. A one-stop shop for developing anything related to the smart home, the Developer Center introduces several new tools to help accelerate the adoption of Matter in the smart home.

A Google Home Device SDK for Matter can help developers quickly create and integrate Matter devices so that they are ready when the standard is released next year. This is also the time when Google has committed to update its Nest and Android devices with Matter support.

Native support for Android through Google Play services and a new Google Home Mobile SDK will bring Matter support to mobile devices and applications to simplify the configuration of smart home devices. This should mean that setting up a Matter-compatible device - such as a light bulb or smart plug - will be as simple as starting it and opening an application (either Google Home or the manufacturer's application). The app will then do most of the heavy tasks of connecting to Wi-Fi and Thread and any other Matter devices you have.

The Google Home Developer Center will be launched next year.
Image: Google

There are still a lot of questions about Matter - but from what Google has revealed today, it seems that while a unified setup experience is coming, a unified app is not on the books. There won't be a Matter-branded app to put all your devices in - instead, you can choose to use one or more apps from a Matter-compatible ecosystem to control your home. This is similar to how HomeKit compatible devices now work with Apple's smart home - you can use the Apple Home app or a third-party app to control them. Each application will likely offer different functions and commands depending on how the manufacturers show to differentiate, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. It's not yet clear if you need to install the manufacturer's application for firmware updates or other reasons.

The most important thing for smart home users is that all Matter compatible devices will work with all applications that support Matter. So, if Apple opens its Matter Home app (and is on the CSA board, which oversees the initiative) and Google activates Matter support in Nest Thermostat - you'll be able to control it in Apple Home. the application. "If they are compliant from the perspective, there is no reason why this cannot be possible," Po confirmed.

In other Google Home news, the company announced the introduction of suggested routines in the Google Home application. This should help bring back some of the functionality lost by third-party device manufacturers at the close of the Works With Nest program (some of which came back with the Home / Away presence detection option introduced at this event last year).

Suggested routines will allow manufacturers to build their own Routines (which allow your devices to turn on automatically) in the Google Home app to interact with both Nest devices and any other third-party devices you've connected to. application. They will be able to use what Google calls "context signals" - voice, time and device / sensor status - to trigger Routines.

Google shares details about its Google Smart Home Developer Summit ads on its blog. Most of the new tools are available in preview now and will be released next year.

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