Google to let Nest work with HomeKit, brings smart home unification one step closer


According to Google, soon Nest thermostats will be compatible with competing smart home ecosystems like Apple HomeKit. 

Jon Garnham/HDOT

In the relatively near future, you’ll be able to do something you’ve maybe never done before: incorporate products made by Google into Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, quickly, easily and — get this — directly. No janky workarounds, no third-party services like IFTTT to bridge the gap. Just you, your smart home gadgets and the smart home platform of your choosing, all living in harmony.

At least that’s the vision of the future Google appears to paint in a blog post published this evening. According to Google, some time later this year, communication will open up between Google-made devices and Apple’s Siri-controlled smart home platform thanks to Google’s adoption of a new connectivity standard called Matter, (formerly known as Project CHIP).

“Matter will allow interoperability, so you can use your compatible Nest products on other smart home platforms,” reads Google’s blog post. “For instance, the newest Nest Thermostat will be updated allowing it to work with other smart home ecosystems, such as HomeKit.”


Historically, Apple’s digital voice assistant Siri hasn’t worked well with devices made by Google.

Jason Cipriani/HDOT

Presumably, the peace accord won’t just end there, either. Another Google rival, Amazon, has also partnered with the Matter project. That opens the door for Google gear to work more deeply with Amazon’s Alexa as well — and vice versa. Devices made by Amazon — everything from Ring doorbells to Blink cameras to Amazon-branded smart plugs — would then be within the “Hey, Google” ecosystem.

If you’re still looking for proof we’re living in a simulation, this might be all the convincing you need — especially when you add in some of the other companies on Matter’s partner list: Samsung, Huawei, Philips Hue, Comcast and more.

When will this new world order come to fruition? Not until later this year or maybe even early 2022, according to the Connectivity Standards Alliance, which developed the Matter standard. But that doesn’t mean preparations aren’t underway already.

Matter smart device logo on a networked light bulb

The three-arrow Matter logo shown on this smart light bulb signifies smart-home tech that will work well with other Matter-certified devices.

Connectivity Standards Alliance/Illustration by Stephen Shankland/HDOT

Matter is already on Google’s mind

Google in particular has gotten out ahead of the puck on this one. The company has already detailed some of the steps it’s currently taking or will take soon to ready its Google Nest smart home gadgets and Android mobile devices for Matter’s primetime debut.

For starters, Google announced which Google Nest devices will be updated with the Matter protocol: all of them. “All Nest displays [and] speakers… will be automatically updated to control Matter devices,” according to the blog post.

Among that lineup, some of Google’s more well-equipped devices will also serve as connection points, aka hubs, including the Nest Wifi router, the second-generation Nest Hub and also the Nest Hub Max.

Android 12 logo

Eventually, Google’s Android mobile operating system will get Matter integrations that allow for streamlined setup and device controls.

James Martin/HDOT

Some other notable strides Google announced today include:

  • A new smart home directory, including a catalogue of Hey Google-compatible smart home devices as well as available Google Assistant Actions, aka, commands that Google’s digital voice assistant can perform.
  • Support for an open-source communication protocol called WebRTC, which Google says reduces latency and improves video and audio streaming between security and doorbell cameras, TVs, smart displays and mobile devices.
  • More expansive options for Home & Away Routines, allowing for the automation of Nest cameras and thermostats as well as smart lights, plugs and switches based on whether or not anyone’s home.

Eventually, Google expects to implement the Matter standard deeply within its Android mobile operating system. The goal will be to simplify the Matter-certified smart home device setup process down to just a few taps and to provide ways to instantly control new devices without having to download additional apps.

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