Matter will really make your smart home connected, and Google shows us how to take its ecosystem even further
On the heels of a Google executive explaining how Matter will be the next big thing for smart home devices, Google today developed it and announced at Google I/O how Matter will work in its home ecosystem and which of its devices will support which features. While Matter will be launching on Google Home sometime “later this year,” Google has already explained how it works and how developers can take advantage of it.
As a reminder, Matter is a next-generation standard that is supposed to connect all the different smart home systems through a unified set of APIs, allowing you to control Matter-equipped smart home devices with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri.
Google explains that there are two sides to supporting Matter. For example, smart home devices such as light bulbs and sensors must be updated or released with support for the standard. On the other hand, controllers like Google’s smart speakers will also need to add Matter functionality in order for everything to run smoothly across different manufacturers. Matter works over Wi-Fi, but the standard also has an option for a “Thread” network connection that’s separate from your home network, and you’ll need threaded network points or routers to properly use this standard.
The company is updating a range of its existing Matter products in the near future. Google says that “Mater’s consoles will include the original Google Home Speaker, Google Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Hub (1st and 2nd generation), Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio, and Nest Wifi.” The Nest Wifi, Nest Hub Max, and Nest Hub (2nd generation) will also act as chain-limit routers, allowing you to connect devices away from your home to your network, such as backyard lights.
Once everything is in place later this year, setting up new smart home devices will be easy. Material-enabled devices should offer a fast and consistent experience, allowing you to add them to your smart home network with just a few clicks. Google claims that with Matter Fast Pair support on Android, connecting a new device to your smart home will be as easy as plugging a new pair of headphones into your phone. Important devices also connect locally via Wi-Fi and threads, so it looks like they won’t rely as heavily on the cloud as other devices.
Google is also rolling out a new Google Home website that gives you an overview of everything you can do with its smart home devices, helping you get the most out of them. Along the same lines, Google is updating its “Works With” partner program. It’s rebranding “Works with Hey Google” to “Works with Google Home” to make it clear that it works across all of the company’s smart home efforts and not just the Assistant. The scope of the program remains the same, though. The devices you enter are all products that have been certified by Google to work well with its ecosystem.
For developers, Google will launch a new Google Home Developer Console on June 30. This includes a set of two new SDKs. The Google Home Mobile SDK will make it easy to build apps that connect directly to Matter devices, using a new version of Matter built into Android. This should make the setup process for these devices and apps very simple for users. The Google Home Device SDK offers tools that make it easy to build hardware-equipped devices. As part of that, Google will also offer interconnection with its main and remote procedures to developers that meet security and privacy requirements, which can create some powerful settings.
The most exciting thing about Matter is that it will not rely solely on Google. We’ll likely also soon see connectivity and hardware options from competitors like Amazon and Apple taking advantage of that, finally making our disparate smart homes work as one.
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