+ Thursday October 17th, 2019

One of our major complaints about Google Home and its smart device control abilities is the speed at which it executes commands – or rather, the lack thereof. One of Google’s announcements at Google IO should solve that issue with some developer buy-in required.

At present, home automation commands are sent offsite to remote servers to be processed. This can mean slow (or no) responses if your internet connection is congested, or if you’re physically located away from the remote servers. The latter is considered a problem for us here in Australia (and is something Amazon’s Alexa systems handle better).

Google’s solution is pretty simple – it’s going to add a new local execution environment to each Google Home device that will attempt to execute a command before sending it off to the internet for processing. This is where the Local Home SDK comes in.

Local Home provides a (lightweight, we assume) JavaScript environment in which to execute these commands, and sends the control commands over your local network to smart devices.

Everything should happen on your local devices and local network, so your voice commands might not even go to Google’s servers. Of course, if a particular manufacturer hasn’t integrated the Local Home SDK then the existing remote execution path would continue to work.

According to 9to5 Google, the SDK is currently being tested by Phillips, LIFX, Wemo and TP-Link, all manufacturers whose products would benefit greatly from the speed boost this would offer. They go on to say that Local Home also allows for faster device setup through the Google Home app on your smartphone, in testing with C by GE bulbs since last October.

It hasn’t been explicitly stated, but this local device control feels like the change that’s been need to help get JBL’s Android TV sound bar and Sonos’ Google Assistant integration over the line. It’ll be interesting to watch how quickly those products and updates get to market after the Local Home SDK rolls out.

The new Local Home SDK will enter developer preview next month.

Source: Google Developers.
Via: 9to5 Google.

Jason Murray   Deputy Editor

Jason Murray

Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!

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Colin J Richardson
Colin J Richardson

I’m just joining the home thingy club, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to take advantage of these changes.


The faster commands make sense for the JBL Link Sound Bar.

Sonos, on the other hand, is a lost cause. The Sonos Google Assistant integration has been promised for release next week. But I wouldn’t bother, as the Cast option on Sonos devices won’t be working. You need the option to be able to cast to your device.

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