Google details how interconnected Matter smart home standard will work on Android and Nest

By Chaim Gartenberg

Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Google is one of the major companies behind the upcoming interconnected cross-platform smart home standard Matter, and today, the company has explained how it’ll work to support Matter with its Android devices and Nest smart home products.

To start, the company is promising that all of its Nest displays and speakers will be updated to enable them to control Matter devices. That means once the update arrives (Google isn’t giving a timeframe yet), you’ll be able to use Google Assistant to control any Matter device, whether it was previously part of Google’s smart home platform or not.

Additionally, newer Google smart home products with Thread built in, like the Nest Wi-Fi, Nest Hub Max, and second-gen Nest Hub, will also serve as Matter connection hubs. That will make it easier to set up and use Matter-branded smart home products throughout your home.

And in what might be the biggest piece of news: Google is promising that it’ll update the latest Nest Thermostat to support Matter, meaning users will be able to — in theory — control their A/C and heat setups with other Matter-certified platforms (like Siri or Alexa, pending Apple and Amazon’s own updates). Disappointingly, Google is only making that promise for the entry-level Nest Thermostat, not the more powerful Nest Learning Thermostat (at least for now).

Google’s support for Matter is also coming to Android phones. The company promises that it’ll add built-in support for Matter, making it easy to set up and control Matter-enabled smart home gadgets through Android apps, Google Assistant, the Google Home app, and more with “just a few taps.”

As part of that support, Thread-enabled Matter devices — like Nanoleaf’s Essentials Bulb — will be supported on Android, which could open up a wave of new smart home devices based on the local connectivity standard to Google (and other smart home platforms). Right now, there are still products like Eve’s HomeKit-exclusive lineup that rely on Thread but can’t be used with Android devices at all. Matter could potentially change that.

If everything works as well as promised (again, there’s plenty of software updates and agreements that will still have to be followed through), Matter could be the magical solution for smart home owners: a set of devices that is easy to set up and use with any (or all) smart home software setups.

In addition to Matter details, Google is also announcing a new Google smart home directory, which will include a list of Assistant-compatible products, Q&As, educational videos, and reviews. Lastly, the company also announced that it will add Nest cameras to its automated routines, allowing owners to automatically toggle on (or off) their cameras when they’re coming and going.