Google Assistant is Now Compatible with Over 5,000 Devices (Updated)

Posted on May 3, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Smart Home with 27 Comments

Google Assistant is Now Compatible with Over 5,000 Devices

Fighting back from the perception that Amazon Alexa has already won this market, Google announced today that its Google Assistant is now compatible with over 5,000 smart devices, up 1,500 from January.

“Over the past year, we’ve made great progress ensuring that the Google Assistant can work with all types of connected devices, and now every major device brand works with the Assistant in the U.S.,” Google’s Michele Turner writes. She notes that the smart devices with which Google Assistant is compatible include “cameras, dishwashers, doorbells, dryers, lights, plugs, thermostats, security systems, switches, vacuums, washers, fans, locks, sensors, heaters, AC units, air purifiers, refrigerators, ovens [and more].”

That’s impressive, but Google Assistant still trails Alexa from a compatibility perspective: By some estimates, Alexa is compatible with over 11,000 smart devices, more than double the count of Google Assistant.

Update: Amazon tells me that there are now more than 12,000 Alexa-compatible smart home devices from over 2,000 brands available to customers globally. –Paul

Google Assistant is also compatible with over one million “actions,” which are things that it can do. And its available on over 400 million devices, mostly phones, but also smart speakers, cars, TVs, and headphones.

Google has a helpful if high-level overview of some of the ways you can use its Assistant at home to control your TV and entertainment devices, your security camera, lights, thermostats, appliances, and more.

 

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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Google Assistant is Now Compatible with Over 5,000 Devices (Updated)”

  1. mikefarinha

    I've dipped my toe in smart home items (Ring, SmartThings, Rachio) and it is a bit tedious. I can see now why it hasn't really taken off for regular users. Between what I have Ring is the most useful.


    There isn't yet anything that is really 'smart' about these devices. They don't do any of the thinking on your behalf, you have to predetermine what you want them all to do. The idea and novelty are great but thinking about all the knickknacks you have to buy and configure makes the whole approach a bit overwhelming for busy people.


    Maybe I'm doing it wrong?

  2. BBoileau

    From the comments, its clear that this is not for everyone. I know personally that when you embrace the technology and allow integration, it fuels a desire for further integration. We don't necessarily use the voice activation that often as a family but the behind the scenes stuff with an automated thermostat that reacts to presence for a family with a sporadic schedule, to lights that come on automatically and garage doors that open upon arrival, this stuff has become expected. I now am looking at most of my regular pattern of home life and moving to automate. Google speakers and Chromecast for both audio and video was the cheapest conversion to whole home multimedia and integration to Logitech's Harmony ecosystem converted my family to further voice activation. For those who talk down the idea, I say give it a small try. If it doesn't work for you, fine.

  3. Jeffery Commaroto

    Betamax players were compatible with any TV that could input coax.

  4. VancouverNinja

    So far AI for home automation is a failure. We get very small use out of our lighting automation and our ring doorbell is nice but has not really done anything for us yet. Alexa...its turned into a neglected boombox in our home. Full on home automation with AI needs to find its way into something truly useful for people. My advice to most people is not to waste their time and money on Gen 1 home automation - it just does not deliver.

  5. wolters

    I made an initially reluctant move from Echo to Google Home last fall and I really have no regrets. It works quite well for my needs and I love the Google Home Max and it's sound quality. It does a good job of recognizing our voices, for example, if wife asks how traffic is to work, it knows it is her and gives proper information. I wish, more than anything, I can say "Hey Google! Shuffle my music library." It can only do playlists, artists, albums or stations. I want my music library shuffled.

  6. Daekar

    So... the image for this article is an excellent illustration of why absolutely none of this interests me at all.

    Turning on the lights: there is never a time when I wish I could control my lights remotely, nor that they were less reliable. The switch on the wall works every time, is cheap, and doesn't malfunction when someone gets DDos'd. When I leave on a trip, we leave some lights on. If I'm particularly paranoid, I can use an $8 timer to turn them on and off.

    Turn on the TV: I'm in the same room as the TV. With a remote, if I'm feeling lazy. Why do I need something else to do it for me?

    Play my favorite song: My phone already does this, and I never want to use it. And God forbid your favorite song be a classical piece named by symphony number and movement.... lol.

    Arm the security alarm: If you're unfortunate enough to live in a place where this is needed, this should be set automatically by time or you just walk to the panel and press a button. This is possibly the most compelling item on the list since it's something you might conceivably need to control while you're away.

    Set the thermostat: you should never have to touch your thermostat, it should be smart enough to follow the program you gave it without input.

    Run the dishwasher: unless it loads itself and also adds detergent, this is completely pointless. You already had to load the thing, just press the button to start it while you're literally standing right there.


    There is almost no benefit to any of these smart devices.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Daekar:

      I'm with you for the most part.

      Light switches - they were installed in 1971 and they still work reliably. I can't see a smart light switch still working reliably (and securely) in 2 years, let alone in nearly 50 years time...

      We have a smart, Android TV, with voice capabilities. We've used the voice recognition maybe half a dozen times in a year, but each time we've given up and used the on-screen keyboard, because the voice recognition is abysmal.

      We have a bluetooth radio, so when I want to listen to my audio books, I turn on the radio and stream it from my phone. No extra network connection needed, no extra security hole in the home.

      I'm with yon on the dishwasher as well. My wife piles it up until it is full, then turns it on (she won't let me load it, I have to pack everything away afterwards). The washing machine has a timer, which wo do use, so it is just finished when we come home from work. No remote control, no security weakness, but still convenient.

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to Daekar:

      It's early and why not pick on some of your points?


      So yeah in general if you don't know what your missing you don't miss it and you don't know if you'd use something if you don't have to try out. Example is Apple folks I hear on podcasts poo pooed the whole inductive / wireless charging that was already out for years saying the charging pads still have cords plugging them in and you have to put it just so to make it charge. Now most of those same people say that I know I said this wasn't anything but now that I have it I really do like and use it.


      "Turn on the TV: I'm in the same room as the TV. With a remote, if I'm feeling lazy. Why do I need something else to do it for me?"


      Answer- there are times you coming in and as your putting your things down being able to say something that either plays you music, podcasts, and as more things come online a specific show / episode "Play the newest episode of The Expanse" really comes in handy. As people grow up with this they'll be like kids who don't understand waiting for a time to watch a show as they just go to the show and play it when they want.


      "Run the dishwasher: unless it loads itself and also adds detergent, this is completely pointless. You already had to load the thing, just press the button to start it while you're literally standing right there."


      This you need to spend a moment then your reflexive answer. If you know you can wash the dishes when ever you want you just put the detergent in right away. Every day you're putting in dishes as you use them and if it's not full but full enough you can just decide to start it up while at work or when in bed. Sometimes things hit you as your trying to sleep like "I forgot to start the dishwasher".


      "Set the thermostat: you should never have to touch your thermostat, it should be smart enough to follow the program you gave it without input."


      So this one is easy and I use my nest thermostat out of schedule all the time. So my schedule is set to turn on heat or air in the morning and change it when we leave. But there are cases like on weekends when we sleep in or when I have to go in early where I'll tell google home to turn on the heat. Another example. My wife and I spend the weekend at my sisters a few hrs away. When we leave for a few days we turn everything on away mode. If it's cold or hot we go on our phone and turn on the heat or or air when we leave so that by the time we get home it's near the temp we want. Before this in the winter we'd return to a home in the winter that was 60 degrees. We then have to wait a few hrs to get back to 68. Same in the summer. We get home to a house that like 88 degrees. Now we can use the phone to set the temp. It's great.


      • Daekar

        In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

        Yeah, I never understood how inductive charging wasn't just obviously desirable beyond the convenience, given the reliability issues with Micro-USB.


        When I'm coming in with my hands full I either already have something playing on my phone or I am busy with what I've got my hands full with and don't need something playing. I literally never watch "scheduled" TV, but that's separate from IoT.


        I think the rationale for needing a connected dishwasher is reaching. I can say with confidence that no need like that has ever arisen in my life, and the fact that the soap is usually loaded only when the last dishes are added sort of puts a damper on that scenario. Even if you start loading the soap before anything else... when was the last time you suffered anxiety about the dishes? 9999/10000 times, it is completely unimportant and that once-in-a-lifetime event that makes it important will either justify getting out of bed to press the start button or be important enough that you won't forget in the first place.


        We have a dumb unconnected thermostat by Honeywell that runs on a schedule based on time of day and day of the week. If I want to change it for when we leave on a trip (seldom, since the cats like the same temperatures we do) I just change the schedule to a different one with a button press... no internet required. And while the fact that you can change it to be the temperature you want right when you get home is neat, it's not like you're avoiding having to cut firewood or something. Seriously, an hour after you get home everything will be normal again, and you still had to press a button - it was just on your phone instead of the wall.


        I'm not advocating we go back to 1950, but merely pointing out the seriously limited utility of connecting every darn thing to the internet. It makes everything more expensive, more complicated, less reliable, and increases the vulnerability of your home network to attacks.

        • Nicholas Kathrein

          In reply to Daekar:

          I can see what you're saying but you can say this about anything we've gotten use to meaning people who are use to watching something at 8pm on Tuesday wouldn't see what the big issue is of being able to watch it at the time you want vs the person growing up with watching whenever they want. They would just say why would anyone want to have to watch that one show at only that time. It's dumb. Same goes with tvs. They had no remote and you had to get up and change the channel. People growing up with remote tvs say that is dumb you had to get up to change. The old person would just say get off your ass and change the channel lazy. So what I'm saying is just because it's not leaps and bounds better it still helps enough to change the way people will look at this in the future.

          • Daekar

            The comparison to scheduled TV is a poor one. There is literally no tradeoff to adopting an on-demand TV model. It's not a security risk, it's not an additional expense, it's barely more complicated, and it's no less reliable.


            You are probably right, at least to some extent, that the current IoT devices will change the way people look at these things in the future. But that's precisely the point... In the future, they may actually be helpful rather than just a gimmick. The gimmicks will likely pave the way for something that will truly make a difference in a reliable, inexpensive, and enduring way. By that time, the products sold now will be utterly and laughably obsolete and basic light switches will still be working regardless of what version of WiFi is then current.


            The fact that useful things may emerge in the future does not increase the actual utility of products that exist today.

            • VancouverNinja

              In reply to Daekar:


              I don't think the real innovations are going to come from the current leaders in the category; I do think in the next 6 - 24 months we will start to see something that will make a meaningful difference to people appear. Hopefully it does not take longer than that.

          • wright_is

            In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

            We have Amazon Prime video, but I'd guess we still watch 95% of our TV in "real time". The convenience is there, but why bother, when there is something good to watch on live TV? That is one of the main reasons we don't have Netflix or something similar, we just don't watch enough TV to warrant it. Maybe an hour or 2 a day during the week, maybe 3 at the weekend. For that the free to air channels are enough.

            • Nicholas Kathrein

              In reply to wright_is:

              The problem with real tv is commercials. If you only have an hour or two a day don't waste any of it on commercials. They are the worst. Amazon Prime has some amazing shows! Sneaky Pete, Bosh, The marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Goliath, and Mozart in the Jungle just to name a few. Check them out. No commercials.

    • dcdevito

      In reply to Daekar:

      Individually, perhaps. But automate all of into workflows and functions and I think you'll see benefits.

      • starkover

        In reply to dcdevito:

        I've said the same thing more verbosely below. :) (Oops, looks like above)

      • Daekar

        In reply to dcdevito:

        Life doesn't happen in workflows... At least, not for me. Maybe if my life were more monotonous or if I were disabled.


        What kind of combination of those functions would be useful in your own life? Do you really come home, turn on the lights, turn on the TV, and set music the same every day?

        • starkover

          In reply to Daekar:

          Of course there are ways to accomplish the tasks without automation, many of which are convenient. However just saying "Alexa, I'm leaving" just prior to going out the front door causes 7 different lights to go out, usually controlled by switches in 4 locations. "Alexa, good night" turns every light in the house off.


          Turning a single light off is not much of a task, but with collections of lights and brightness levels it is a different question. Same thing applies with other actions. Combinations of actions is where the real usefulness emerges.

          • wright_is

            In reply to starkover:

            We usually have one light on in the house, before we go to bed. We walk past the switch on the way to the stairs, so no need for remote control. There are motion sensor lights in the hall and the landing... Cheap and reliable.

          • Daekar

            In reply to starkover:

            So... this is going to come across as a little snarky, and I really apologize for that because it's not how I intend it... but why are all those theoretical lights on when nobody is in those rooms? Surely, everyone is now aware enough of reducing power consumption to be in the habit of turning off lights when they leave the room?


            Maybe these devices are designed for larger homes than ours... unless you've got 4000 sq. ft. of home and leave lights on when you're not using them, I just can't see the benefit.


            Not even that, really. I can see the benefit, even apart from the "oooh aaah" factor... I just don't see how that tiny benefit is worth the expense, complexity, and risk associated with IoT. Life without IoT works extremely well and very conveniently, never requires firmware updates, is 100% compatible with everything, doesn't require any setup, and (very importantly) doesn't require any patience from my wife for finicky technology - it just works.

            • wright_is

              In reply to Daekar:
              Surely, everyone is now aware enough of reducing power consumption to be in the habit of turning off lights when they leave the room?

              And every extra smart device increases power consumption over a "dumb" device that is turned off... These device have to have permanent electricity, otherwise they are useless, so I use a device that uses more electricity in order to save electricity? Why?

              I can simply put in LEDs and turn them off at a dumb switch when I'm not using them. The washing machine and drier are unplugged when not in use (same for the coffee machine and kettle). So, I lose the ability to have coffee waiting for me when I come downstairs in the morning, but the fire risk is reduced, the used electricity is reduced and I can grind fresh beans when I get up for a really fresh cup of coffee...

            • starkover

              In reply to Daekar:

              I don't think that's snarky, just stretching to disagree. As a matter of fact there are few scenarios now where one light illuminates a living space. I live in an apartment, and I live alone.


              The living room and dining area are contiguous. There are three lamps and 2 sets of overheads that are on for general illumination. Thus the 4 switch locations, (The overhead switches are side by side so I counted them as 1) Before Alexa I would turn off all the switches on my way out. Not a problem. It's just significantly easier to just say I'm Leaving.


              For watching TV all those lights are off except for two lamps at 50% brightness. As simple as "Watch TV". 3 lamps and two sets of overheads, all dim-able creates a very large set of possible combinations.


              • Daekar

                In reply to starkover:

                I guess I can see where you're coming from. Most of the lights in our house just must be laid out such that it's never an issue for us. In the case of our living room, by far the largest room in in the house, either we hit a single switch and the chandelier lights up the room, or we skip that and all the stand lamps are on remote switches so you just pick up the remote, click that, and they all toggle. The switches were cheap at Lowes' and don't connect to anything.


                It occurs to me that I very rarely turn on all the lights in a room on any occasion except when we're having company or when the darkness of winter is particularly oppressive. We have enough natural light during the day that it's not necessary, and doing it much in the morning would totally constrict my pupils before climbing in the car in the pre-dawn darkness.

  7. laross

    Yes, 5,000 devices but not my G-Suite calendar. I don't imagine support will come. Google struggles with G-Suite app access and integration. As a G-Suite admin, I'd be fine with choosing to allow or disallow access to these other Google service but clarity is not something Google has a strong suite when communicating about G-Suite development if the issue isn't already in the track.

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