Google Edges OnHub Into Home Automation

Posted on August 31, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Hardware with 0 Comments

Google Edges OnHub Into Home Automation

One year ago, Google announced its OnHub home routers, offering consumers a simpler and more elegant solution for home connectivity. Today, the search giant is subtly expanding OnHub’s capabilities into home automation courtesy of new Philips Hue light compatibility.

“Philips Lighting is the first connected home device you can control directly with OnHub,” Google’s Ben Brown explains. “We know people don’t like having too many apps on their phones, so we made it possible to control your home’s Philips Hue lights without downloading an app.”

That’s an interesting selling point. It’s almost like Microsoft was onto something with Windows phone.


Google announced OnHub in August 2015, focusing on both simplicity and elegance. It is an attractive device—well, they now, since there are multiple models now—and works really simple, and shares some nice functional/UX DNA with such Google products as Project Fi andthe Nexus family of devices. I tried one—still have it in fact—and came away impressed. But because I’d still need to leave my FIOS router up and running, for me it was just additional complexity. Another thing.

On a side note, I’m curious why or how Google is able to keep foisting these hardware side projects, compared to Microsoft, which seems to need a business justification for anything these days. Not sure if it’s just the Googly way of doing things or whatever, but they certainly have their own history of silently killing off products. Not sure if it’s as rich as Microsoft’s history, at least yet.

But OnHub is still with us. And now it’s even getting better, assuming you only need lights control, and are interested in Philips Hue lights specifically. One assumes more is coming, perhaps some kind of Nest integration.


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