Google is going all in with Matter, the new smart home standard the company has backed alongside Amazon, Apple, and other gadget makers, starting with its Nest devices.
Nest devices that already have Google’s Thread technology built in, including Nest Wifi, Nest Hub Max and the second-gen Nest Hub, will act as Matter connection points, similar to a mesh network. Other Google Nest devices, including older Nest displays and speakers, will be automatically updated to control Matter devices. And the new Nest Thermostat will receive an update to become compatible with the Matter protocol.
Android will also have built-in support for Matter so that you can quickly set up devices and link up any compatible Android apps. You can then control Matter devices through other Matter-enabled Android apps, as well as with the Google Assistant, the Google Home app, other compatible Google devices, and even the Android Power Control menu, which surfaces with a long-press of the power button on devices with Android 11 and up.
Matter is a new smart home standard born out of Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP). Google, Apple, Amazon, and other smart home players have committed to supporting the standard. Matter uses a combination of Ethernet, wifi, Thread, and Bluetooth LE to connect. It makes it easier for gadgets to identify themselves to one another, so you don’t have to rely on third-party software to do the deed. Compatible devices launching later this year will eventually be branded with the new Matter symbol to make it easier to identify what works together in your home.
Google has a few other smart home updates timed to its Google I/O developers conference. Google’s smart displays now have support for WebRTC, an open-source communications protocol that allows you to make video calls without the need for onboard plugins. The company partnered with manufacturers like Logitech, Arlo, and Wyze to integrate the video standard into their retrospective video-streaming security devices.
Routines are also getting a bit of a bump. Google plans to improve its Home & Away Routines so that it can automatically control Nest cameras, thermostats, and other devices whether you’re home or away. This sort of routine already happens if you have Nest security cameras and a thermostat in the house, though you’d have to have a third-party app to help command other smart devices not connected through Nest.
Finally, if you’re wondering which connected devices to bring home, Google has a new directory to make it easier for you to find what’s compatible with the Assistant. It’s essentially a portal to every Google Assistant-compatible device available, plus there are educational videos to help you set things up.
Before Google I/O 2021 kicked off, we were hoping to see new Nest security devices, and it doesn’t seem we’re getting any of that this week. But there’s still plenty of time left in the year to announce new hardware.