Google Home adds several new smart home integrations
Google Home, the Alexa-like smart speaker from Google, just added support for several popular smart home devices and platforms. And let me tell you, folks, it's about doggone time.
Google Home's latest integrations
Google Home (and Google Assistant) can now integrate with August Home, Insignia Connect products, LIFX, TP-Link, and Wink. These integrations join Honeywell, Nest, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Belkin WeMo which are already supported by Google Home and Assistant.
I figure it'd be helpful to run through the list of new integrations to talk about what you'll be able to do with the different products and services available on the platform, so let's do that!
- August Home: August Home's Google Home integration is a little different from many of the other integrations on the list. Instead of finding the integration within the Home control account settings, you'll find it in the Services list so you'll need to head there to get everything linked up. The Service lets you lock your August Smart Lock-equipped door and check on the current status of your door; August Home says unlock support is coming later this year. If you're curious, I recorded an interaction with the August Home service — check out the video below! (By the way, if you're in the market for an August Smart Lock, now's the time! It just hit the lowest price it's ever reached, so be sure to hop on that deal!)
- Insignia Connect: Insignia Connect is a pretty small connected home platform at the moment, but I imagine the company plans to add more products in the future. Right now you can use Google Home to control an Insignia Connect Wi-Fi smart plug. The company also makes freezers that'll notify you of temperature changes, power loss, and open doors.
- LIFX: LIFX makes a whole host of smart lighting products. You can use Google Home to dim and brighten the lights, change their color, turn them on and off, etc.
- TP-Link: TP-Link makes smart bulbs, plugs, and switches that all work with Google Home. You can ask the Google Assistant to toggle lights, fans, coffee machines — anything you've got plugged in, connected, or outfitted with TP-Link's bulbs.
- Wink: Wink is a very powerful addition to Google Home and Assistant, because Wink is one of a few companies that strive to connect various smart home devices using various means of communication. With a Wink Hub 2 connected to Google Home, you can control devices that communicate using Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Kidde, Lutron Clear Connect, and (eventually) Thread. In other words, Wink can control a crap-ton of devices, so Google Home — by extension — can also control a crap-ton of devices.
Google Home plays catch-up
Apple's HomeKit framework has given Siri direct access to quite a few smart home accessories. Amazon's Alexa platform has been blowing past the connected home competition in terms of compatibility. Apple and Amazon have a leg up in the smart home arena and Google's got a lot of catching up to do.
It remains to be seen whether Google will take the Apple approach of a locked-down, security-focused platform or the Amazon approach of a "Come one, come all! Let thine products be commanded by Alexa!" mindset. My money's on the latter. Either way, Google will need to keep working toward more integrations — even with these latest additions, it's still a lacking maestro for the smart home.
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Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.
By Tammy Rogers