A slew of companies are announcing new-found compatibility with Google’s Home hub this morning, including August Home smart locks, Logitech’s Harmony line and light bulbs from TP-Link and LIFX. The announcements come as the company works to bolster its smart home presence in the wake of big pushes by Amazon and Apple.
A look at the official Google Home page shows a small but key list of third-party devices and platforms by players like Nest, Philips Hue, IFTTT and Honeywell. It’s a modest foundation, but then, Home has only been commercially available since November – and until last month at Mobile World Congress, Google’s Assistant didn’t extend beyond Home and the Pixel (with Wear and Android TV on the way).
Since then, announcements have been a bit scattershot, like Neato’s news a week or so back that its robot vacuum would be compatible with the smart home assistant (following hot on the heels of iRobot’s Alexa news). Google’s got a ways to go in terms of catching up with Alexa and Home Kit, but the announcements today mark a key push toward the next tier of connected home devices, building the ecosystem of devices that serve as the foundation for smart hub functionality.
Detailed in a blog post from the company today, the full list includes:
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For August, the addition of Home makes the company’s locks compatible with the big three, following Amazon and Apple. Though the case use is pretty modest to start, just allowing users to check the lock’s status. The company adds in a press release that it is “also working with the Google team to develop a safe and secure way to allow unlocking via Google Assistant.”
With Logitech Harmony compatibility, Assistant can be used to turn on speakers, turn on a connected TV and go to a favorite channel. The TP-Link integration lets users turn on specific devices connected through the company’s plugs, while LIFX bulbs can be turned on and off, dimmed and have their colors changed through the app.
Building this sort of ecosystem is a key aspect of developing company’s smart home play as it spreads out into more markets. This morning, the company announced that Home would be coming to the UK. Those devices will support all of the above partners, “along with others,” according to the company. Back in February, meanwhile, Google rolled out Assistant on additional handsets.
That news came as companies like Huawei and Motorola announced plans to embrace Alexa. Tomorrow, meanwhile, Samsung will be revealing more about its own proprietary smart assistant, Bixby. It’s a crowded market already, and Google’s going to need all the support it can get.