Google Home takes another swing at Alexa with four new hardware partners

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The list of companies able to market their products as Google Home-compatible is now a good deal longer. Google has brought aboard the likes of Logitech Harmony, Tp-Link, Wink, and Rachio among others, all of whom can now sell hardware that works in tune with the Google Assistant functions of the smart home hub.

Since the original unveiling of Google’s Home system, the search giant has added on partners to expand the system’s capabilities and help it compete directly with other firms in the space, like Amazon with its Echo platform. In the past, Google has teamed up with Nest, Philips, and Belkin WeMo, but this latest round of partners expands its support to a much greater degree.

The full list of the 12 new partners added in March includes August, Lifx, Wink, Rachio, TP-Link, First Alert, Vivint, Best Buy Insignia, Frigidaire, Anova, Geeni, and Logitech Harmony. Together they offer a wide variety of hardware and software for Google Home users to play with. In May, Google Home added support for a few more smart device makers, including iHome, Emberlight, Artik Cloud, and Leviton.

In the past, Google Home has only been compatible with lights, plugs, switches, and thermostats, but as CNET points out, the revised list contains lock makers, sprinkler systems, air conditioners, a sous vide cooker, and a smart home hub system.

August’s smart locks will mean users can lock and unlock their home with their voice, or a companion application. Wink, Geeni, and Lifx bulbs and lighting kits can all be controlled remotely when integrated with Google Home. Rachio smart sprinklers can turn on automatically based on the weather, or at your command. TP-Link’s lighting products can change color or be dimmed to your preference. And Vivint’s connected air conditioning system can be controlled by your voice, letting you set the perfect temperature for your environment.

But that’s not all. Anova’s precision cooker let’s you search for recipes and set the temperature; the First Alert smart thermostat gives you vocal command of your central heating system; Logitech Harmony expands Google’s Chromecast functionality, letting you tell it to turn on various software apps; Best Buy Insignia’s smart plugs let you control a variety of connected appliances through the hub; Vivint allows for new camera-, security-, and lock-based functions for everyone who wants them.

All in all, this is a step in the right direction for Google, which has fallen behind Amazon’s Alexa system in terms of functionality over the past few months. While the many apps available for Echo systems still offer greater functionality, the increased hardware support for Google Home certainly makes it a much more capable system than it was.

Article originally published in March. Updated on 05-02-2017 by Lulu Chang: Added news that Google Home added support for four more smart device makers.  

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