Google goes all-in on Matter in bid to save the smart home

A neat and new service from Google called Fast Pair is designed to speed up the process of connecting smart home devices to your phone and to each other. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to discover nearby devices without using a large phone battery.

In theory, everything just pops up on your screen – if it supports the right protocol, of course. Historically, that’s been the backlog with smart home connectivity, and Google says Matter will fix the problem – when it arrives, that is.

At Google I/O 2022, the company touted the “magical” power of Fast Pair and the Matter connectivity standard to link devices and services from a wide range of manufacturers, solving one of the key problems anyone who has tried to set up a smart bulb or smart hub will be familiar with it.

Matter is a new inbound connectivity standard supported by Samsung, Google, Amazon, Apple and others that promises much easier setup, much greater interoperability, faster speeds and more.

Last year at Google I/O, the company said he was planning to roll out Matter support – formerly called Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP) – to its Nest thermostats, speakers and displays first, after which it would also become part of Android.

A year later, we are still waiting. Despite the brief mention at the I/O event, the standard is still not there. The issue was postponed to early 2022, and has been postponed again to this fall (so September-November), the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) overseeing the rollout, told The Verge earlier this year.

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Google also promises that Matter will be the foundation of the proactive home, something I’ve been waiting years for. When Google announced its entry into home security, this was a key feature: rather than passively signaling an open door or window, the Google Assistant actively prompted you to close it. Or remember that you usually turn off the downstairs lights before going upstairs.

Sure, it’s a bit nosy. I don’t need to be reminded that Google knows what room I’m in in my own house. But I have to remember to turn off the outside lights.

And although Google mentioned Matter, it was very light on features and substance. No mention was made of “the proactive home”, and alongside a quick demo with an Eve smart plug – a device that really only uses Apple’s HomeKit – there wasn’t much- “there” thing.

Google talks about the Matter smarthome standard at IO 2022

Google talks about Matter smarthome connectivity standard at IO 2022 (Image credit: future)

So what is matter, exactly?

Any smart home device that adheres to the protocol, which currently covers Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Thread smart home technologies to connect to the internet, will also be easier to set up. Devices that support Matter can be added to a smart home using a simple code, rather than requiring multiple steps that differ by device manufacturer.

Slow smart home automation is definitely one of the biggest challenges in smart homes, and with Fast Pair and smarter, seamless technology, Matter says it will allow smart home devices to work together faster and seamlessly. .

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Apple, Amazon, Google and SmartThings are just a few of the 180 brands supporting Matter – an IP-based connectivity protocol that originally launched in 2019 as Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), and is designed to standardize how smart home devices communicate and work together.

If Matter can do what Google says, that will be great. We can’t wait to try it –
whenever it finally launches.

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