After killing off “Works with Nest” earlier this year, Google is finally expanding its smart home integration capabilities to make Assistant suit the entire home. That’s based on recent reports following changes to the developer pages associated with Google’s Assistant AI. The documentation hints at capabilities that go well beyond smart speakers and lighting.
Summarily, Google is letting in a whole slew of new possibilities for OEMs and users, as well as use cases. The search giant has added appliances that would be particularly useful to control throughout the house. Its focus, for now, seems to be on the bedroom and kitchen areas.
Google has added support in the latter area for Blenders, Cooktops, Dehydrators, Fryers, Grills, Multicookers, Pet Feeders, Pressure Cookers, Sous vide, Stand Mixers, and Yogurt Makers. Smart beds, drawers, and closets are included on the bedroom side. Outside of the home, the company added support for smart lawn mowers and smart radiators.
The death of Works with Nest hasn’t stopped Assistant from expanding on the smart home front
The addition of new expansions marks a key turning point since Google killed off Works with Nest earlier this year. That was replaced by “Works with Google Assistant,” which is much more restrictive in terms of what third-parties and partners can do. It’s especially restrictive when it comes to accessing user data.
The big concern with the death of that program stemmed from the loss of functionality between that being shut down and the new program starting up. Namely, a lot of AI-driven smart home things were going to break.
The purpose of the program, aside from rebranding, is to ensure that all data sharing is an opt-in rather than opt-out arrangement.
When will new products arrive that work here?
In all likeliness, Google won’t be partnered to launch any devices centered around the newly adjusted code any time soon. The company just hasn’t left much time for devices to launch. But CES 2020 is just around the corner in a few months’ time. And it shouldn’t be too surprising to see the company begin to make announcements there.
As to what those products might be, the list outlined above seems to be fairly wide. So it’s going to come back to what developers want to do with Assistant. For instance, a smart closet might be useful in a home but could be equally useful in a department store. The tech could be used in situations where clerks are generally required to go unlock dressing room doors for customers.
That’s not necessarily new technology but it brings Google’s Assistant back to the AI game, expanding to cover the entire home. And it does so in a way that it simply wasn’t able to prior to this change.
Regardless, it likely won’t be until toward the middle or end of 2020 when announcements begin to be made pertaining to finalized products. It’s also not unlikely at least some OEMs will work to add the AI helper through software via updates. That may or may not take longer than the launch of new products.