Monday, 10 October 2016

Does Google's new 'Google home' work with smart locks?

Last week (Oct 4th 2016) Google launched its new 'Home' product for the smart home. We've been researching since then to see if 'Home' has a smart lock in it/interfaces to a smart lock. We couldn't find a straight answer in any of the tech journals, or on the Google website, so we called up the 'Google Home Support Team' phone line to get some answers. After having to explain to the Google operator 'what a smart lock is', and then waiting 3 minutes on hold for him to find out the answer to my question, the answer was "no, Google Home does not work with smart locks...not for now, anyway".

The Google website pages for Google Home here says that the product works with Nest. Well this makes sense considering Google bought Nest back in early 2014 for $3.2 billion. When I clicked on the Nest logo - nothing happened - I sort of expected all the compatible Home and Nest devices would show up on a list. I was a little confused because August Smart lock has been working with Nest since January 2015. So silly me, assuming that just because Google says that 'Google Home works with Nest', and 'Nest works with August', then the August smart lock would work with Home. August also works with Apple's HomeKit, and with Amazon's Alexa and Echo smart speaker/home automation hub, so I was a little suprised not to see the August smart lock up there on the 'non-existent' "works with Home" list.

The Google Home thingamebob - just don't go to the Google Home page to learn more about Google home.

During the Home launch the Google people praised the Amazon Echo, and according to most reports, the Home is modeled on the Echo. As the Echo is both a hub and a speaker, many people on the Google Home's FAQ's page seemed as confused as I was, commonly asking 'does Home also work with the Samsung smart things hub considering the Samsung Hub works with Nest'. Many asked if they would have to buy the Samsung Smart things Hub to make the smart devices work considering Home was marketed as a smart speaker and not a hub. Also asked, 'is Home a modem as it works with Wi-Fi' and not Bluetooth?'.

So if you are not confused yet, then congratulations you are doing better than I am. What we do know from Google's support line is that Home only currently works with the following smart home devices;
1. Nest Smart Thermostats
2. Phillips Hue smart lights
3. Weave Thermostats (made by Nest)

You can see more information about the smart home devices working the Google (its probably better to say its a thing, as I'm still not sure if is it a kit?or a a hub? or a speaker? or casting device, or all of the above. The Google website says that Home works with Google Chromecast, but does it work without Google Chromecast?).

Its seems I'm not the only one confused with smart home things products at the moment - for example see this article from June 2016 titled 'Apple launches HomeKit app - but where are the products?'

Perhaps 2016 needs to be renamed to the Year of the Internet of 'Confusing' things. Atleast we now know that Home does not work with smart locks - so no smart locks for the Google home...well not yet anyway.

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