One of the coolest, if underused, features of the Google Wifi and Nest Wifi routers is that you can control parts of your network through the Google Assistant instead of fiddling with a configuration page. Now it seems the capability for Google Assistant support is opening up for developers to put into more routers.

It’s a vast Internet of Things world we live in, with the Google Assistant able to control traditional things like lights and outlets, as well as more things that are more outlandish to be controlled by voice, like a bathtub or smart closet.

The latest device archetypes to gain explicit support from the Google Assistant are “routers” and “networks.” At first blush, these two sound like the same thing, but looking at the official documentation the difference seems to be that a “router” is a single device while a “network” is a group of devices like a mesh network.

Interestingly, Google seems to be opening a significant part of Nest Wifi’s Assistant features to other router companies. For example, the Assistant will be able to toggle the guest network on and off as well as retrieve the guest network password for display on something such as a smart display. Similarly, you can perform a speed test directly from the router or have the Assistant display your network’s data usage for the month.

Of course, whether or not a particular router or mesh network actually uses all of these Google Assistant features is entirely dependent on the company building it. For instance, quite a few Netgear routers and Orbi mesh networks that have released since 2017 have support for most of these features.

Either way, it’s exciting to see Google open up previously somewhat exclusive features to more companies, and I hope it won’t be long before Assistant integration becomes something of a standard feature for routers.

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