Home Android@Home: Google Gets Serious About the Smart Home

Android@Home: Google Gets Serious About the Smart Home

Android@Home is a new Google framework, announced today, that will allow you to control everything in your home from an Android device. It’s an exciting development from Google, which up till now has been on the periphery of the Internet of Things – the fast-evolving trend where real world objects are connected to the Internet.

Microsoft has been active in Internet of Things, with its various ‘smart home’ initiatives over the years along with more recent success with its Kinect sensor system. IBM, Cisco and HP all have sensor development and service platforms. But Google has been oddly absent from this activity. That all changed today, when Android@Home was showcased at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco.

Android@Home is a development platform for connecting Android devices (such as Android phones and tablets) to home devices and appliances. Google also plans to launch a set of services built off Android@Home, although no timeframe was given for this.

Hello World #IoT

The “hello world” of Internet of Things is turning lights on and off in a house, via a web connected device. Sure enough, Google demoed a wireless lighting system today. It was built in partnership with the company Lighting Science, which plans to launch other wireless lighting products using Android@Home.

Project Tungsten

Another Android@Home service shown at Google I/O today was a prototype home music system codenamed “Project Tungsten.” It will enable your Android device to read an NFC-enabled CD and add the music to your Google Music online library (also announced at Google I/O today). With another tap of your Android device, the music starts automatically.

Other media have noted that this is a threat to Sonos and its music sync products. While that’s true and Sonos will have to re-consider its pricing levels once Tungsten is launched, this is just the beginning of Google’s foray into the smart home. Microsoft and Apple are Google’s main targets.

There is no public website for Android@Home yet and the announcement today lacked specifics on technical details. What we do know is that Android@Home will use Google-authored protocols and APIs, which will be made available as open technologies at some point. “It will be completely open for developers to explore and write their own applications,” promised the company at Google I/O.

No timeframe was given for the release of the technologies behind Android@Home.

Google Invites Developers into its Open Home

Google’s smart home vision is, as you’d expect, ambitious. “We want to think of every device in your home as a connection to Android apps,” said Hugo Barra, Product Management Director for Android at Google, in today’s keynote.

Android@Home is a platform, so Google expects developers to build new services and apps that automate your house. Just like developers have built thousands of apps for Android mobile phones.

That’s a smart move and plays to Google’s strengths: build an open platform and entice developers to build things that will (Google hopes) enable it to offer a more compelling smart home offering to consumers than Microsoft and Apple’s largely proprietary products. It’s game on in the battle for the smart home!

Image credits: Engadget

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