Google just put out a list of devices that it will support through the Google Home. The number sounds impressive… 1000 devices. This, of course, is no small fete. It likely took a lot of effort, campaigning, and relationship-building for Google to be able to establish these partnerships and integrate with different APIs. However, while this support for a long tail list of devices helps bring new customers to the platform, it doesn’t solve the bigger issue of home automation.
When we were pitching the Ubi to various VCs, they would respond with something along the lines of “why would I need to use my voice to turn on a light when I could just walk up to a light switch.” This was aggravating! The voice enabled light switch company Vocca did a great video illustrating the time savings of using your voice to actuate a device versus having to walk up to a light switch:
However, this really only the first step. When we talk about home automation we forget about the automation part. Really, we shouldn’t be thinking about having to turn lights on and off. These devices should be able to sense what’s happening around us and perform their own action depending on the circumstances. We should only have to actuate devices if it’s done something that wasn’t in accordance with our wishes. Voice actuation would then play a role in educating the system to understand what we really want.
What Googe (and Amazon) should continue to work on is how to get these devices to operate for us without our direct input.