Google

Google Pixel Can Now Control Smart Homes

A software update to Google’s Pixel gives users the ability to control a variety of smart home devices straight from their smartphones.

From a digital control panel, called Home Control, Pixel owners can use voice commands to control a number of smart home products straight from Google Assistant. Some products Pixel owners can now control reportedly include Belkin’s WeMo, Nest, Philips Hue, and Samsung SmartThings, said The Verge.

Google Assistant is currently available on just Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, though rumors are circulating that the LG G6 will feature Google’s AI assistant. Nothing is certain until the phone is unveiled officially on February 26.

Google’s move to add these smart home control feature to mobile expands its offering out from the hub-based smart home ecosystem, said Business Insider, and adds device-based functionality. Google’s entry into the U.S. smart home market in the U.S. is still working to surpass the early-adopter phase.

Allowing Pixel phones (and potentially other devices with Google Assistant or running Android software down the line) to control smart home devices will enable wider availability and lower entry costs, said BI, which could work to boost the number of users entering into Google’s smart home ecosystem.

A recent state-of-the-industry report from VoiceLabs, the analytics company for Amazon Alexa and Google Home developers, projected that, by the end of 2017, the total device footprint of voice-activated devices will reach 33 million. That’s an enormous increase compared to past data — from the 1.7 million shipped in 2015 and the 6.5 million shipped in 2016.

In other words, VoiceLabs projects 24.5 million new voice-enabled devices will be shipped in 2017. These projections include consideration of increased consumer interest in voice, as well as new players adding voice-enabled tech to their repertoire.

While Amazon currently dominates with an estimated 7 million Amazon Echo devices in consumers’ homes and Google is getting started, others are soon likely to follow. VoiceLabs predicts that Apple, Samsung and Microsoft may also introduce voice-enabled hardware in 2017.

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