At Google’s virtual Hey Google Summit this week they introduced a range of front facing and behind the scenes updates and improvements to Assistant. While nothing earth shattering was released, it shows a steady maturation of the Assistant ecosystem.

As we covered a few days ago Google Assistant can now control all SHED devices, Smart Home Entertainment Devices, a term absolutely no one ever uses. This means 3rd party OEMs can make their SHED devices work with Hey Google.

Works with Hey Google? Yeah, Google has quietly renamed with comparability program from Works with Google Assistant to Works with Hey Google. We have no idea if this is a good idea, and honestly feels so minor that it doesn’t matter.

Google also discussed the implementation of Smart Home Controls in Android 11. Whilst not new it clearly fits well into an Hey Google Summit. A long press on the power menu in Android 11 will reveal a new and much needed enhancement, a control centre.

The new UI will include power controls, of course, Google Pay short cuts, awesome, and user customisation smart home controls. Using the Google Home App you’ll be able to set what controls appear in the Smart Home Controls.

A huge part of the IoT is knowing the state of a device, e.g., if you ask your garage door to open and it already is what you want is 1. the assistant not to close the door and 2 to be informed it’s already opened. To achieve this Google has made it easier and quicker for Assistant to know the state of the devices in the network, is OEMs implement the tools of course.

One element of the Assistant/ Home experience that is badly in need of improvement is linking service to the Assistant. Currently when setting up a service you leave the home app and go down some random rabbit hole that is different for every single OEM, it’s inconsistent, frustrating and often fails or needs multiple attempts.

Google is fixing that with OAuth App Flip. IN the end that’s a fancy name for saying that Google has developed secure method using the OAuth security protocol to allow OEMs to integrate account syncing into their app. All a user needs to do is have the OEM app installed and signed in.

When you try and link the service you would ‘flip’ over to the OEM app, approve the sync and you’d be flipped back to the Google Home App. This is a much nicer workflow and I hope it is widely adopted, especially by Tuya who seem to develop the majority of he underlying IoT infrastructure.

Our last user facing enhancement sees enhancement to routines. Firstly a wider implementation of location based routines. Devices like the Nest Thermostat know when you’re home or away and change device states to match. Using the new occupancy detection OEMs will be able to implement similar features.

Google will also be allowing OEMs to create custom routines for users, these routines will either assist with automating their own products or integrating them with another device type in the Assistant. Users will have the choice of using the OEM routines, making their own or using none.

As we said at the start, nothing here on it;s own is ground braking, and most of it is expected or enhancement to existing features. However this really does show how Google is continuing to enhance and improve the Works with Hey Google ecosystem.

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    Fraser Paterson

    Did they announce that the Assistant works properly with YouTube Music yet. That would be a real announcement!

    Matt Battishall

    I totally agree! I transferred over now instead of waiting until I had too and regret it somewhat… Play Music worked well with it!