With the recent integration of Nest back into Google, there’s been ongoing speculation about Google smart home and their plans to fix home automation.
Well, despite more and more smart devices flooding the market every month, it’s still no easier to get technology working in harmony. Since manufacturers are aggressively competing by often locking down their ecosystems, there is no unified platform and compatibility can be problematic.
According to Rishi Chandra, VP of Product and General Manager at the newly formed Google Nest, Google is now “deviating from the word smart home.” but why is that?
The Google exec feels that the term smart home itself is potentially part of the problem.
“No one asked for… the smart home.” Chandra added that what consumers want help with technology that provides real benefits. He suggests that the Google view of a connected home is more helpful home than smart home.
There are too many conflicting devices and not enough interoperability, there are privacy issues that continue to crop up and there’s very little unification.
How, then, does Google intend to steer the ship through these helpful home waters and why should you care?
Google’s Role In a Transitional Stage of Computing
When speaking with Forbes, Google’s Chandra identified 2020 as the fourth stage of computing.
After the shift from PC to web and from the web to mobile, we’re now vigorously underway with a shift to ambient computing, but what is this?
Well, with this level of computing and intelligence, sensors are studded everywhere around you.
Another way this is described is distributed computing. Unlike integrated computing with all parts in a central device or hub, components can be scattered throughout the environment.
With this form of computing requiring sensors, inputs, and outputs, there’s a great deal of scope for things to go wrong. Not all technology works together and this is by far the biggest frustration faced by newcomers to smart home technology. Often, stuff just doesn’t work well together.
This state of affairs is analyzed by Chandra as the consumer being sold “this notion of smart home” and then asked, “to actually build the house.” This analogy sums up the mounting frustration faced by many sold into the concept of a connected home then left to piece things together.
While the need for a brand-specific hub is fading, you’ll still need to consider the issue of a third-party gateway.
Same with digital assistants. Do you prefer Alexa or Google Assistant? Or, as a die-hard Apple fan, has it got to be Siri?
In order to see how Google positions itself in the changing landscape of home automation, a glimpse at Google Nest Hub Max.
What is this smart display and how is it likely to impact Google’s role in the smart home space?
Google Nest Hub Max
Google Hub, rebranded Google Nest Hub, is confusingly named.
What you get is a smart display rather than a home hub and Google has continued that counterintuitive naming with the new addition to the stable, Google Nest Hub Max.
While Alexa might still have the upper hand in the digital assistant wars, objectively Google Assistant is superior across many applications.
As the Works with Nest program has now been disbanded and the Works with Google Assistant program is sure to go from strength to strength, Hub Max is the pinnacle of Google’s AI to date. From complete hands-free control of your smart home and pulling up content to grabbing recipes and streaming mixed media, Hub Max is a powerful portal.
Face Match facial recognition is a nice touch on the camera. This leads to a much more personalized experience across the board. If you’re concerned about privacy, there’s a physical switch to disable the camera, giving you complete peace of mind in an area many these days are concerned about.
With a pair of forward-facing drivers and a woofer facing the rear, you’ll get a solid soundscape, but don’t expect the punch of Google Home Max.
The poor version of Nest Cam bundled is not worth talking about and Google should either fix this or leave it out completely.
The smart display vertical only accounts for perhaps 10% of smart speaker sales, but it’s an increasingly crowded marketplace. Face Match is a great way for Google to differentiate itself delivering the helpful home Rishi Chandra was talking of.
So, Google is ramping things up on the privacy front and looking to bring its next-generation Assistant run on your phone. This means eliminating the Internet connection from the equation.
The direction Chandra wants Google Nest to follow sees computing move from social to communal with all that entails in the smart home. And this is where Google needs to get to work. Delivering an increasingly personalized experience within the smart home is a great way for the mighty Google to deliver consumers exactly what they want.
Not only are the smart home wars not over, but they’ve barely even started!
Well, despite fragmentation and a lack of unity, smart home technology is perhaps shaping up for a more seamless period.
With fewer protocols and improved compatibility, you the consumer might just end up getting what you want.
The ability to simply buy smart devices piecemeal, connect them to your home network and have those devices intuitively work well together.
Until that day comes, bookmark our blog to stay abreast of all the latest smart home news.
And if you’re tempted to invest in any Google Nest products, why not sign up for our email newsletter first? We’ll not only send you curated content on all aspects of home automation, but you’ll also get 20% off your first order here at Smarthome. What are you waiting for?