In addition to a slew of user-facing Assistant features at I/O 2019, another way Google is improving the experience of using Google Home and Nest Displays is through the Local Home SDK. This new local technology will deliver faster commands to your smart home accessories.
At a high-level, commands issued to Google Home today are first processed in the cloud and then sent to smart devices, like connected light bulbs. This has led to some user complaints that it takes too long for an action to execute given that the round-trip originates on an Assistant device, goes to a server, and physically comes back to your house to complete.
Google’s new solution is the Local Home SDK. Smart home code will run locally on Google Home speakers or Nest Displays, and then be sent to the proper smart accessory via on-device radios. In the case of today’s Assistant devices, this includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Commands issued on other devices, like phones, will also be routed through your Home device. This should lead to a faster experience by eliminating cloud hops, and improving reliability.
This SDK is currently in preview, but Google is already testing with Philips, Wemo, TP-Link, and LIFX. All four companies have significant smart lighting offerings, with the Local Home SDK available for all developers next month.
Update 7/9: Announced on the first day of I/O, the Local Home SDK is now live as a developer preview. Google missed its original June deadline, but has already been testing the platform with large smart home vendors.
Another capability this SDK allows for is fast device setup, with C by GE lights leveraging Local Home since October. Users adding a bulb can just screw it in and initiate setup from the Google Home app when a Home speaker is nearby.
The Local Home SDK now allows other brands and devices to take advantage of seamless setup that’s touted as happening in under a minute. Smart vendors can sign-up as Google makes this capability more widely available.