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Apple-backed smart home protocol, Matter, is coming to Google's Android and Nest products which means HomeKit will soon have access to the Nest Thermostat.
Buying devices for the smart home can be confusing due to multiple standards and smart assistants. A consortium of tech giants formed a new protocol, called Matter, to help keep things working regardless of the platform.
On Thursday, Google announced that Matter would be coming to the Android operating system and Nest products. This means that any device that uses the Matter protocol will now connect with Google Home via Android, including devices like the Nest Thermostat.
"All Nest displays and speakers, like the Nest Hub and Nest Mini, will be automatically updated to control Matter devices," says Google. That could allow Google's smart displays to control HomeKit devices that are certified by Matter.
Additionally, Google is specifically committing to updating its latest entry-level Nest Thermostat to support Matter. Unfortunately, Google has remained mum on its other smart home products including the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Cams, Nest Protect, and Nest Hello. Future versions of these products may include support for Matter or perhaps Google doesn't intend to add Matter to those produts at all.
The Nest Thermostat is a notable addition to Matter since it has not been compatible with other smart home solutions like Apple's HomeKit since launch. Following full implementation of the protocol as soon as late 2021, users will be able to buy one device and use it with any assistant on any platform that supports Matter.
That means once Apple adds Matter support to HomeKit, users will be able to add things like the Nest Thermostat to their Apple Home app for the first time. Apple belongs to the group that develops Matter, but hasn't made any official announcements on adding the protocol.
Google also says it will introduce a new smart home directory to help customers find Google Assistant-compatible products. This hub will enable customers to filter products based on compatible software and protocols.
Google is also bringing support for WebRTC to its smart home product. This means smart doorbells will be able to use the low-bandwidth video format to stream video without lag. Google expects companies like Arlo, Logitech, Netatmo, and Wyze to add WebRTC in the coming weeks.
Apple is expected to announce updates to its HomeKit platform during WWDC in June. It is unknown if Matter will be added in an update to iOS 14 or if it will come in iOS 15 or a subsequent point update.
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