Google Smart Home Developer Summit – New tools and features to build, innovate, and grow with Google

Posted by Michele Turner, Senior Director of Product for Google’s Smart Home Ecosystem

Google Smart Home Developer Summit

Earlier this year at Google I/O, we told you that our goal is to make Google the best place for smart home developers like you to build, innovate, and grow. Today, I’m excited to show you all the new ways we’re improving the tools and opportunities you’ll have to build you best experiences with Google, by:

  • Expanding our platform and tools to make it easier for you to learn and build devices that do more with Google.
  • Providing a site where you can preview the new tools that are coming over the next year to help you build your devices, apps, and integrations.
  • Supporting Matter & Thread across our entire ecosystem, including Nest and Android.
  • Developing more automation capabilities, including the ability to build suggested routines for your users.
  • Helping you differentiate with Google and connect to more users.

(re) Introducing “Google Home”

Our journey as an ecosystem started five years ago with the Google Home speaker and Google Assistant. It has grown into a powerful platform, with support for new smart speakers and displays, Android, Nest, and the Google Home app. It also includes an ecosystem of tens of thousands of devices made by partners and developers like you, enabling Google users to engage with over 200 million devices, and making the smart home more than the sum of its parts.

We’re bringing all of this together, and announcing a new, but familiar name, for our entire smart home platform and developer program, that helps users and developers do more with Google – Google Home. By bringing our platform and tools under the same roof, it gives us a simpler way to show you why and how integrating your devices with Google Home makes them more accessible and helpful across the Google ecosystem.

New Google Home Developer Center

Launching early next year, you’ll have access to our new Google Home Developer Center that will have everything you need to learn and build smart home devices, applications, and automations with Google. It’s a total redesign of our developer site and console, focused on major upgrades to navigation, and new self-serve tools for both developers and their business teams.

The developer center will have tools for each step of development, deployment, and analytics, including:

  • Building Matter devices
  • Customizing setup of your devices in Android and the Google Home app
  • Creating automations and routines
  • Building Android apps with Matter
  • Testing and certification
  • New tools for analytics & performance monitoring

image of Smart Home Developer Center

Quickly build and integrate with Matter

One of the most important new capabilities we’re bringing to our developers is the ability to quickly build and integrate Matter devices. We’re continuing to collaborate with other leading and innovative companies from across the industry to develop Matter — the new, universal, open smart home application protocol that makes it easy to build, buy, and set up smart home devices with any Matter ecosystem or app. We’re also adding Matter as a powerful new way to connect your devices to Google Home and your Android apps.

To make sure users are ready for your Matter devices, we’ll update Nest and Android devices with Matter support, following the launch of the new standards. That means when you build devices with Matter, they can be easily set up and controlled by millions of users everywhere they interact with Google, including Nest speakers and displays, the Google Assistant, and of course Android devices. To make sure you’re ready to build your best Matter-enabled experiences with Google, we’re adding support for Matter in the Google Home Developer Center, and rolling out new tools for Matter development across Google Home and Android, including two new SDKs.

New Google Home Device SDK for Matter devices

The first is the Google Home Device SDK — the fastest way to develop Matter devices, enabling seamless setup, control, and interoperability.

The open source Matter specification and SDK will ensure everyone is starting from the same code base. But building innovative, quality experiences goes beyond sharing the same connectivity protocol. The Google Home Device SDK complements the open-source libraries and simplifies building Matter devices to work seamlessly with Google, including configuring your device with Assistant, improving quality with logging, and adding tools to interact and test with Google devices. This helps you build a more responsive, reliable end-to-end experience for users. We’ll also be adding new capabilities that allow you to innovate with the SDK.

To make your development even easier, we’re also delivering the Google Home IDE to build your smart home devices and connect them to Google in a familiar way. For developers using Visual Studio Code to develop smart home devices, you can easily leverage our tools in that environment by installing the new Google Home IDE, which complements your existing extensions and tools in this popular editor.

Visual studio code

Native Android Support via Google Play Services and a new Google Home Mobile SDK

Mobile devices are an important smart home tool for users, and are critical to how users set up, manage, and control the devices in their home. To make app experiences more seamless, and help your users experience the magic of your device as quickly as possible, we’re building Matter directly into Android, and announcing support for Matter through Google Play services.

One of the key benefits this enables is seamless Matter device setup flows in Android, letting users connect new Matter devices over WiFi and Thread as easily as a new pair of headphones. You’ll be able to customize that setup flow with branding and device descriptions. With just a few taps, users will be able to link your devices to your app, the Google Home app, and other Matter apps they’ve installed. Of course, when users connect your device to Google, it automatically shows up in the Google Home app, on Android controls for smart home devices, and is controllable with the Google Assistant on Android, without additional development.

We’re also creating new tools to accelerate your development with the Google Play services Matter APIs, using the new Google Home Mobile SDK. Building a Matter-native app on Android lets users link their smart home devices to your app during the setup process, or later in their journey, with a few easy taps – with no need for account linking.

We’re already well underway building Matter integrations with many of the leaders in the smart home industry, and helping their Matter devices do more with Google, with many more to follow.

Inspire engagement with Suggested Routines

Whether via Matter or existing integration paths, being able to easily and reliably connect your devices to Google helps users build their smart homes. For developers, automations allow users to do more with your devices.

We want to help you easily combine them with other devices into coordinated routines, and to use context and triggers to increase their usefulness and engagement with the help of Google’s intelligence. So in our new Developer Center, we’ll enable you to create your own suggested routines that users can easily discover directly in the Google Home app. Your routines can carry your brand, suggest new ways for users to engage with your devices, and enhance them by coordinating them with other devices and context signals in the home.

Do more with Google Home

This is just the start of new ways we’re enabling your devices and brands to do more with Google Home. We know that for device makers, compatibility with Google Home is an important way to engage your users. But you want to make sure that your brand, products, and innovations are front and center with your users, to help them get the most from the experiences you’ve built.

That’s why all of the new tools we’re building help you to go beyond just compatibility with Google Home — and empower you to build your best, most engaging experiences with Google.

  • Customizable setup flows built into Android and Google Home that let your users experience the magic of your device with just a few taps right out of the box.
  • Native Matter apps on Android your users can discover and connect to in one streamlined setup flow.
  • Suggested routines to help your users do more with your devices.
  • New ways for users to discover and use your devices’ capabilities within the Google Home app.
  • the new Google Home Developer Center that brings developer and marketing tools together in one place, to help you and your team quickly bring all this to market.

Building for Matter

Support user growth and discovery

Of course, when you’ve built those great experiences, you want to tell everyone about them! For users that haven’t discovered your devices yet, we’re leveraging the power of Google to help users learn about your devices, and bring them home.

Earlier this year, we launched our new smart home directory on web and mobile that has seen great user engagement. This new site gives consumers an easy to use resource for discovering smart devices compatible with Google, and the experiences they can create with them, whether with a single device or using multiple devices together with automations and routines. We’re continuing to expand the site with more use cases, addressing the needs of both beginners and more sophisticated users looking to grow their smart homes and get more out of them.

We’ll have more to share with you over the coming months! Visit developers.googoe.com/home to read more about our announcements today and sign up for updates. We can’t wait to see what you build!

You’re invited to the Google Smart Home Developer Summit

Posted by Toni Klopfenstein, Developer Relations Engineer

Google Smart Home Developer Summit

Today there are over 276 million smart home households globally, and the industry continues to see rapid growth every year. Users have never been more comfortable bringing home new smart home devices — but they also continue to expect more from their devices, and their smart homes. To meet and exceed these expectations, we want to make sure developers have the tools and support to build their best experience across the Google Home app, Nest, Android, and Assistant.

That’s why we’re excited to announce the return of the Google Smart Home Developer Summit on October 21, 2021! This year’s event is free to join, fully virtual and will be hosted on our website with broadcast times available for our developer communities in the AMER, EMEA, and APAC regions.

To kick things off, Michele Turner, Senior Director of Product for Google’s Smart Home Ecosystem, will share our vision for the home and preview upcoming tools and features to build your next devices and apps using Matter and Thread — technologies transforming the industry. This will be followed by a developer keynote to dig deeper into announcements, and a round of technical sessions, workshops, and more, hosted by Google’s smart home leaders.

Building the best smart home platform means using trusted technology and intelligence to develop your integrations faster, provide tools to drive your innovation, and allow you new paths to growth. We can’t wait to engage with you and share more about how we can lead and grow the smart home together.

You can register for the Google Smart Home Developer Summit 2021 here, and follow along with the event using the tag #GoogleHomeSummit on social media. We hope to see you there!

Assistant Recap Google I/O 2021

Written by: Jessica Dene Earley-Cha, Mike Bifulco and Toni Klopfenstein, Developer Relations Engineers for Google Assistant

Now that we’ve packed up all of the virtual stages from Google I/O 2021, let’s take a look at some of the highlights and new product announcements for App Actions, Conversational Actions, and Smart Home Actions. We also held a number of amazing live events and meetups that happened during I/O – which we’ll summarize as well.

App Actions

App Actions allows developers to extend their Android App to Google Assistant. For our Android Developers, we are happy to announce that App Actions is now part of the Android framework. With the introduction of the beta shortcuts.xml configuration resource and our latest Google Assistant Plug App Actions is moving closer to the Android platform.

Capabilities

Capabilities is a new Android framework API that allows you to declare the types of actions users can take to launch your app and jump directly to performing a specific task. Assistant provides the first available concrete implementation of the capabilities API. You can utilize capabilities by creating shortcuts.xml resources and defining your capabilities. Capabilities specify two things: how it’s triggered and what to do when it’s triggered. To add a capability, use Built-In intents (BIIs), which are pre-built intents that provide all the Natural Language Understanding to map the user’s input to individual fields. When a BII is matched by the user’s speech, your capability will trigger an Android Intent that delivers the understood BII fields to your app, so you can determine what to show in response.

This framework integration is in the Beta release stage, and will eventually replace the original implementation of App Actions that uses actions.xml. If your app provides both the new shortcuts.xml and old actions.xml, the latter will be disregarded.

Voice shortcuts for Discovery

Google Assistant suggests relevant shortcuts to users and has made it easier for users to discover and add shortcuts by saying “Hey Google, shortcuts.”

Image of Google Assistant voice shortcuts

You can use the Google Shortcuts Integration library, currently in beta, to push an unlimited number of dynamic shortcuts to Google to make your shortcuts visible to users as voice shortcuts. Assistant can suggest relevant shortcuts to users to help make it more convenient for the user to interact with your Android app.

gif of In App Promo SDK

In-App Promo SDK

Not only can Assistant suggest shortcuts, with In-App Promo SDK you can proactively suggest shortcuts in your app for actions that the user can repeat with a voice command to Assistant, in beta. The SDK allows you to check if the shortcut you want to suggest already exists for that user and prompt the user to create the suggested shortcut.

Google Assistant plugin for Android Studio

To support testing Capabilities, Google Assistant plugin for Android Studio was launched. It contains an updated App Action Test Tool that creates a preview of your App Action, so you can test an integration before publishing it to the Play store.

New App Actions resources

Learn more with new or updated content:

Conversational Actions

During the What’s New in Google Assistant keynote, Director of Product for the Google Assistant Developer Platform Rebecca Nathenson mentioned several coming updates and changes for Conversational Actions.

Updates to Interactive Canvas

Over the coming weeks, we’ll introduce new functionality to Interactive Canvas. Canvas developers will be able to manage intent fulfillment client-side, removing the need for intermediary webhooks in some cases. For use cases which require server-side fulfillment, like transactions and account linking, developers will be able to opt-in to server-side fulfillment as needed.

We’re also introducing a new function, outputTts(), which allows you to trigger Text to Speech client-side. This should help reduce latency for end users.

Additionally, there will be updates to the APIs available to get and set storage for both the home and individual users, allowing for client-side storage of user information. You’ll be able to persist user information within your web app, which was previously only available for access by webhook.

These new features for Interactive Canvas will be made available soon as part of a developer preview for Conversational Actions Developers. For more details on these new features, check out the preview page.

Updates to Transaction UX for Smart Displays

Also coming soon to Conversational Actions – we’re updating the workflow for completing transactions, allowing users to complete transactions from their smart screens, by confirming the CVC code from their chosen payment method. Watch our demo video showing new transaction features on smart devices to get a feel for these changes.

Tips on Launching your Conversational Action

Make sure to catch our technical session Driving a successful launch for Conversational Actions to learn about some strategies for putting together a marketing team and go-to-market plan for releasing your Conversational Action.

AMA: Games on Google Assistant

If you’re interested in building Games for Google Assistant with Conversational Actions, you should check out the recording of our AMA, where Googlers answered questions from I/O attendees about designing, building, and launching games.

Smart Home Actions

The What’s new in Smart Home keynote covered several updates for Smart Home Actions. Following our continued emphasis on quality smart home integrations with the updated policy launch, we added new features to help you build engaging, reliable Actions for your users.

Test Suite and Analytics

The updated Test Suite for Smart Home now supports automatic testing, without the use of TTS. Additionally, the Analytics dashboards have been expanded with more detailed logs and in-depth error reporting to help you more quickly identify any potential issues with your Action. For a deeper dive into these enhancements, try out the Debugging the Smart Home workshop. There are also two new debugging codelabs to help you get more familiar with using these tools to improve the quality of your Action.

Notifications

We expanded support for proactive notifications to include the device traits RunCycle and SensorState. Users can now be proactively notified for multiple different device events. We also announced the release of follow-up responses. These follow-up responses enable your smart devices to notify users asynchronously to device changes succeeding or failing.

WebRTC

We added support for WebRTC to the CameraStream trait. Smart camera users can now benefit from lower latency and half-duplex talk between devices. As mentioned in the keynote, we will also be making updates to the other currently supported protocols for smart cameras.

Bluetooth Seamless Setup

To improve the on-boarding experience, developers can now enable BLE (bluetooth low energy) for device onboarding with Bluetooth Seamless Setup. Google Home and Nest devices can act as local hubs to provision and register nearby devices for any Action configured with local fulfillment.

Matter

Project CHIP has officially rebranded as Matter. Once the IP-based connectivity protocol officially launches, we will be supporting devices running the protocol. Watch the Getting started with Project CHIP tech session to learn more.

Ecosystem and Community

The women building voice AI and their role in the voice revolution

Voice AI is fundamentally changing how we interact with technology and its future will be a product of the people that build it. Watch this session to hear about the talented women shaping the Voice AI field, including an interview with Lilian Rincon, Sr. Director of Product Management at Google. Leslie also discusses strategies for achieving equal gender representation in Voice AI, an ambitious but essential goal.

AMA: How the Assistant Investment Program can help fund your startup

This “Ask Me Anything” session was hosted by the all-star team who runs the Google for Startups Accelerator: Voice AI. The team fielded questions from startups and investors around the world who are interested in building businesses based on voice technology. Check out the recording of this event here. The day after the AMA session, the 2021 cohort for the Voice AI accelerator had their demo day – you can catch the recording of their presentations here.

Image from the AMA titled: How the Assistant Investment Program can help fund your startup

Women in Voice Meetup

We connected with amazing women in Voice AI and discussed ways allies can help women in Voice to be more successful while building a more inclusive ecosystem. It was hosted by Leslie Garcia-Amaya, Jessica Dene Earley-Cha, Karina Alarcon, Mike Bifulco, Cathy Pearl, Toni Klopfenstein, Shikha Kapoor & Walquiria Saad

Smart home developer Meetups

One of the perks of I/O being virtual this year was the ability to connect with students, hobbyists, and developers around the globe to discuss the current state of Smart Home, as well as some of the upcoming features. We hosted 3 meetups for the APAC, Americas, and EMEA regions and gathered some great feedback from the community.

Assistant Google Developers Experts Meetup

Every year we host an Assistant Google Developer Expert meetup to connect and share knowledge. This year we were able to invite everyone who is interested in building for Google Assistant to network and connect with one another. At the end several attendees came together at the Assistant Sandbox for a virtual photo!

Image of GoogleIO assitant meetup

Thanks for reading! To share your thoughts or questions, join us on Reddit at r/GoogleAssistantDev.

Follow @ActionsOnGoogle on Twitter for more of our team’s updates, and tweet using #AoGDevs to share what you’re working on. Can’t wait to see what you build!

Getting Started with Smart Home Notifications and Follow-up Responses


Posted by Toni Klopfenstein, Developer Advocate

Alerts for important device events, such as a delivery person arriving or the back door failing to lock, create a more beneficial and reassuring experience for your smart home device users.

As we announced at I/O, you can now add proactive notifications and follow-up responses to your Smart Home Action to alert users to events in a timely, relevant and helpful fashion and better engage with your end users.

proactive notifications flowchart

Notifications can either alert a user to an event that has occurred without them proactively issuing a request through the Assistant, or as a follow-up to verify that the user’s request has been fulfilled. Each device event that triggers one of these notifications has a unique event id, which helps the Assistant route it to the appropriate Home Graph users and Google Home Smart Speakers or Nest Smart Displays, depending on the notification type and priority. Notifications and follow-up responses can also provide users with additional information, such as error and exception codes, or timestamps for the event.

You can enable notifications on your existing devices once users opt-in to receive alerts by updating the device definition and requesting a SYNC intent. You can then send device notifications along with any applicable device state changes using the Home Graph API.

We are adding support for traits where asynchronous requirements are a core use case.The following device traits now support follow-up responses to user queries:

Additionally, we are launching proactive notification alerts for the following traits:

For more information, check out the developer guides and samples, or check out the Notifications video.

We want to hear from you, so continue sharing your feedback with us through the issue tracker, and engage with other smart home developers in the /r/GoogleAssistantDev community. Follow @ActionsOnGoogle on Twitter for more of our team’s updates, and tweet using #AoGDevs to share what you’re working on. We can’t wait to see what you build!

Everything Assistant at I/O


Posted by Mike Bifulco

Google I/O banner

We’re excited to host the first ever virtual Google I/O Conference this year, from May 18-20, 2021 – and everyone’s invited! Developers around the world will join us for keynotes, technical sessions, codelabs, demos, meetups, workshops, and Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions hosted by Googlers whose teams have been hard at work preparing new features, APIs, and tools for you to try out. We can’t wait for you to explore everything Google has to share. Given the sheer amount of content that will be shared during those 3 days, this guide is meant to help you find sessions that might interest you if you’re interested in building and integrating with Google Assistant.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of everything Assistant at Google I/O 2021:

Keynote: What’s New in Google Assistant (register)

We’ll kick off news from Assistant with our keynote session, which will be livestreamed on May 19th at 9:45am PST. Expect to hear about what’s happened in Assistant over the past year, new product announcements, feature updates, and tooling changes.

Keynote: What’s New in Smart Home (register)

In celebration of Google Assistant’s 5th birthday, we’ll share our Smart Home journey and the things we’ve learned along the way. We’ll also dive into product vision, new product announcements, and showcase great Assistant experiences built by our developer community. Catch the Smart Home keynote on May 19th at 4:15pm PST.

Technical Sessions

Technical sessions are 15 minute deep dives into new features, tools, and other announcements from product teams. These 4 sessions will be available on demand, so you can watch them any time after they officially launch during the event.

Driving a Successful Launch for Conversational Actions (register)

In this session, we’ll discuss marketing activities that will help users discover and engage with what you’ve built on Google Assistant. Learn some of the basics of putting together a marketing team, a go-to-market plan, and some recommended activities for promoting engagement with your Conversational Actions.

How to Voicify Your Android App (register)

In this session, you’ll learn how to implement voice capabilities in your Android App. Get users into your app with a voice command using App Actions.

Android Shortcuts for Assistant (register)

Now that you’ve added a layer of voice interaction to your Android app, learn what’s new with Android Shortcuts and how they can be extended to the Google Assistant.

Refreshing Widgets (register)

Widgets in Android 12 are coming with a fresh new look and feel. Come to this session to learn how you can make the most of what’s coming to Widgets, while also making them more useful and discoverable through integrations with Assistant and Assistant Auto.

Ask Me Anything (AMA)

AMAs are a great opportunity for you to have your questions fielded by Googlers. If you register for I/O, you’ll be able to pre-submit questions to any of these AMAs. Teams of Googlers will be answering audience questions live during I/O. All AMA sessions will be livestreamed at specific dates and times, so be sure to add them to your calendar.

App Actions: Ask Me Anything

May 19th, 10:15am PST (register)

This is the place to bring all of your burning questions about App Actions for Android. Our App Actions team will include Program Managers, Developer Advocates, and Engineers who are looking forward to answering your questions. Maybe you’re building an app which uses Custom Intents, or you’ve got questions about some of the new feature announcements from our Technical Sessions (see above!) – the team is looking forward to helping.

Games on Google Assistant: Ask Me Anything

May 19th, 11:00pm PST (register)

Join a panel of Googlers to ask your questions about building Games with Google Assistant. Our team of Product Managers and Game developers are here to help you – from designing and building games, to toolchain questions, to figuring out what types of games people are playing on their smart devices.

Workshops

This year, our workshops will be conducted online via livestream. Each workshop will be led by a Googler providing instruction alongside a team of Googler TAs, who will be there to answer your questions via live chat. Workshops will show you how to apply the things you learn at I/O by giving you hands-on experience with new tools and APIs. Each workshop has limited space for registrations, so be sure to sign up early if you’re interested.

Extend an Android app to Google Assistant with App Actions

May 19th, 11:00am PST (register)

Learn to develop App Actions using common built-in intents in this intermediate codelab, enabling users to open app features and search for in-app content, with Google Assistant.

Debugging the Smart Home

May 19th, 11:30pm PST (register)

Improve your products’ reliability and user experience with Google’s new smart home quality tools in this intermediate codelab. Learn how to view, analyze, debug and fix issues with your smart home integrations.

Meetups

Women in Voice Meetup

May 20th, 4:00pm PST (register)

This meetup will be a chance for developers to share influential work by women in Voice AI and to discuss ways allies can help women in Voice to be more successful while building a more inclusive ecosystem.

Smart Home Developer Meetup

[Americas] May 18, 3:00pm PST (register)
[APAC] May 19th, 9:00pm PST (register)
[EMEA] May 20th, 6:00am PST (register)

This meetup will be a chance for developers interested in Smart Home to chat with the Smart Home partner engineering team about developing and debugging smart home integrations, share projects, or ask questions.

Register now

Registration for Google I/O 2021 is now open – and attending I/O 2021 is entirely free and open to all. We hope to see you there, and can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on with you. To register for the event, head over to the Google I/O registration page.

Policy changes and certification requirement updates for Smart Home Actions


Posted by Toni Klopfenstein, Developer Advocate

Illustration of 2 animated locks and phone with Actions on Google logo on screen

As more developers onboard to the Smart Home Actions platform, we have gathered feedback about the certification process for launching an Action. Today, we are pleased to announce we have updated our Actions policy to enable developers to more quickly develop their Actions, and to help streamline the certification and launch process for developers. These updates will also help to provide a consistent, cohesive experience for smart device users.

Device quality guidelines

Ensuring each device type meets quality benchmark metrics provides end users with reliable and timely responses from their smart devices.With these policy updates, minimum latency and reliability metrics have been added to each device type guide. To ensure consistent device control and timely updates to Home Graph, all cloud controlled smart devices need to maintain a persistent connection through a hub or the device itself, and cannot rely on mobile devices and tablets.

Along with these quality benchmarks, we have also updated our guides with required and recommended traits for each device. By implementing these within an Action, developers can ensure their end users can trigger devices in a consistent manner and access the full range of device capabilities. To assist you in ensuring your Action is compliant with the updated policy, the Test Suite testing tool will now more clearly flag any device type or trait issues.

Safety and security

Smart home users care deeply about the safety and security of the devices integrated into their homes, so we have also updated our requirements for secondary user verification. This verification step must be implemented for any Action that can set a device in an unprotected state, such as unlocking a door, regardless of whether you are building a Conversational Action or Smart Home Action. Once configured with a secondary verification method, developers can provide users a way to opt out of this flow. For any developer wishing to include an opt-out selection to their customers, we have provided a warning message template to ensure users understand the security implications for turning this feature off.

For devices that may pose heightened safety risks, such as cooking appliances, we require UL certificates or similar certification forms to be provided along with the Test Suite results before an Action can be released to production.

Works With ‘Hey Google’ badge

These policy updates also will affect the use of the Works With Hey Google badge. The badge will only be available for use on marketing materials for new Smart Home Direct Actions that have successfully integrated any device types referenced.

Any Conversational Actions currently using the badge will not be approved for use for any new marketing assets, including packaging/product refreshes. Any digital assets using the badge will need to be updated to remove the badge by the end of 2021.

Timeline

With the roll-out today, there will be a 1 month grace period for developers to update new integrations to match the new policy requirements. For Actions currently deployed to production, compliance will be evaluated when the Action is recertified. Once integrations have been certified and launched to production, Actions will need to be recertified annually, or any time new devices or device functionality is added to the Action. Notifications for recertification will be shared with the developer account associated with your Action in the console.

This policy grace-period ends April 12, 2021.

Please review the updated policy, as well as our updated docs for launching your Smart Home Action. You can also check out our policy video for more information.

We want to hear from you, so continue sharing your feedback with us through the issue tracker, and engage with other smart home developers in the /r/GoogleAssistantDev community. Follow @ActionsOnGoogle on Twitter for more of our team’s updates, and tweet using #AoGDevs to share what you’re working on. We can’t wait to see what you build!

Announcing New Smart Home App Discovery Features


Posted by Toni Klopfenstein, Developer Advocate

When a user connects a smart device to the Google Assistant via the Home app, the user must select the appropriate related Action from the list of all available Actions. The user then clicks through multiple screens to complete their device setup. Today, we’re releasing two new features to improve this device discovery process and drive customer adoption of your Smart Home Action through the Google Home app. App Discovery and Deep Linking are two convenience features that help users find your Google-Assistant compatible smart devices quickly and onboard faster.

App Discovery enables users to quickly find your smart home Action thanks to suggestion chips within the Google Home app. You can implement this new feature through the Actions Console by creating a verified brand link between your Action, your website, and your mobile app. App Discovery doesn’t require any coding work to implement, making this a development-light feature that provides great improvements to the user experience of device linking.

In addition to helping users discover your Action directly through suggestion chips, Deep Linking enables you to guide users to your account linking flow within the Google Home app in one step. These deep links are easily added to your mobile app or web content, guiding users to your smart home integration with a single tap.

Deep Linking and App Discovery can help you create a more streamlined onboarding experience for your users, driving increased engagement and user satisfaction, and can be implemented with minimal engineering work.

To implement App Discovery and Deep Linking for your Smart Home Action, check out the developer documents, or watch the video covering these new features.

You can also check out the smart home codelabs if you are just starting to build out your Action.

We want to hear from you, so continue sharing your feedback with us through the issue tracker, and engage with other smart home developers in the /r/GoogleAssistantDev community. Follow @ActionsOnGoogle on Twitter for more of our team’s updates, and tweet using #AoGDevs to share what you’re working on. We can’t wait to see what you build!

New user features and developer tools to build the helpful home

Posted by Michele Turner, Director of Product and Smart Home Ecosystem for Google Nest

To create a helpful home experience, we have focused on foundational features necessary to make it easier for people to manage their smart devices. But as people spend more and more time at home during these challenging times, it’s important that we invest in additional ways to work with developers to build a more useful connected home.

Today, at the “Hey Google” Smart Home Virtual Summit, we gave updates on our latest smart home initiatives, talked more in-depth about the new smart home controls in Android 11, and previewed some platform tools that we’re investing in to make devices easier to set up and work with Google Assistant.

Smart Home for Entertainment Device support with Google Assistant

As many of us continue to stay home, smart devices are being used a lot more. With the biggest growth coming from entertainment devices, we’re increasing our support in this area with our Smart Home API.

Last year, we launched Google Assistant support for Smart Home for Entertainment Device (SHED) device types and traits, including TVs, remotes, set-top boxes, speakers, soundbars, and even game consoles from top brands like Xbox, Roku, Dish, and LG. And now, we are making these APIs public for any Smart TV, set-top box or game developers to use. SHED gives users the ability to control their favorite entertainment devices from any Assistant-enabled smart display, smart speaker or mobile device.

Smart Home controls in Android 11

With the release of Android 11, coming out later this year, we are introducing a dedicated space for Smart Home controls that users can find quickly, and access any time. We’ve redesigned the power menu to make devices linked to Google Assistant just a button-press away.

Users with the Home App can choose all, or just their favorite controls to be in the space. For partners, you get this for free – there’s no new development work required. We’ll have sliders which will allow you to adjust specific settings, like the temperature of your thermostat in the morning, or how far to open the blinds. You can also customize what devices are visible from the control space and whether these devices can be accessible in your lockscreen.

Improved state reporting and reliability

With Android 11, we want to give users a quick and easy way to check or adjust the devices in their home. And as we continue to add new surfaces for device control, it becomes more critical to ensure we have accurate state. In the coming months, we’ll be introducing tools to measure your reliability and latency to help improve and debug state reporting. Once you hit key targets for reliability and latency, we will shift from a default of querying your state to using report state to render stateful controls. This will reduce query volume on your servers and improve the user experience with accurate device state across multiple surfaces.

In addition to state accuracy, the best user experience comes with strong reliability and low latency. To help achieve both, we launched local execution with the Local Home SDK back in April. As part of the Smart Home platform, local fulfillment can extend your Smart Home Action and routes commands to devices through the local network, benefitting users with reduced latency and higher reliability by removing an additional cloud hop.

To ease the development process, the Local Home platform supports both Chrome and Node.js runtime environments, as well as building and testing of apps on local development machines or personal servers. Once you’ve deployed your local fulfillment app, users will benefit immediately without having to upgrade hardware or manually update firmware. Nanoleaf and Yeelight have already enabled local execution for their devices. It’s available to all developers through the Actions on Google Console.

Improving linking

Implementing a high quality integration is important – it reduces churn and delights users. Yet, it’s still challenging to get users to discover these features, and we’re doing a couple of things on our end to increase the funnel of users linked to your action. We are excited to launch OAuth-based App Flip on the developer console today. With AppFlip, we streamline the standard account linking flow by flipping users from the Google Home App to the Partner app to gather consent without requiring the users to re-enter their credentials.

To increase awareness of your Action, you will soon be able to initiate the account linking flow within your app. There will also be more opportunities to increase awareness through feature promotion and in-app notification using your app, and we will have more details on discovery and linking opportunities later this year.

Robust monitoring, logging, analytics tools

We know that visibility into the behavior of your smart home integrations is critical, from debugging in early development to detailed analytics in production. To enhance developer productivity, we’ve integrated with the powerful monitoring and troubleshooting tools available in Google Cloud Platform to provide detailed event logs and usage metrics for smart home projects.

We’ve also recently launched new tools to help developers improve the reliability of their integrations and aid in debugging and resolving issues quickly. You can view aggregate metrics directly in the developer console, or build logs-based metrics to find trends and gain deeper insights into common problems. Google Cloud Platform also enables developers to build custom alerts to quickly identify production issues.

You can also find a new Smart Home Analytics Dashboard accessible from the developer console and pre-populated with charts for common metrics such as Daily Active Users and Request Breakdown — giving you an overall picture of your integration’s behavior. This dashboard is powered by new usage and performance metrics in Google Cloud Monitoring, giving you the power to set alerts and be notified if your integration has an issue. Get started today by going to the “Analytics” tab in the Actions console or the Google Cloud console to check out these new logs, metrics, and alerting capabilities for your projects!

Updates to Device Access program

Last year, we announced that we’re moving from the Works with Nest program to Works with Google Assistant and build on a foundation of privacy and data security to ensure users have confidence in how Google and our partners are protecting the consumer’s home data.

As part of that effort, we created the Device Access program to provide a way for partners to integrate directly with Nest devices. To support the Device Access program, we will soon launch the Device Access Console, a self-serve console that guides commercial developers through the different project phases: development, certification and pilot testing, and finally production.

For a commercial developer the console allows them to manage your various projects and integrations. It also provides development guides and trait documentation for all supported Nest devices. Individuals who want to create their own automations with their Nest devices will be able to do so with this console, but only for the homes they are a member of.

Expanding routines

One of the most popular features with Nest users is the ability to automatically trigger routines based on whether users are Home or Away. Later this year, similar functionality will be available with Google Assistant through occupancy detection.

Sleep is also a critical part in maintaining our overall well-being as we stay more at home. Last year we launched the Gentle Sleep & Wake feature with Philips Hue, which slowly brightens or dims the lights at a specific time or can be tied to your morning alarms. Just say, “Turn on Gentle Wake up” to your bedroom speaker to ‘set it and forget it.’ The Light Effects trait is now public so all developers can integrate their native Sleep or Wake experiences – in fact LIFX has recently launched! We encourage you to build and integrate your own unique experiences. We’ll have a larger launch moment later this year when we launch emulated Sleep and Wake effects so that it’ll work out of the box for any smart light!

Another way partners will be able to innovate on our platform and provide more helpful experiences to users is by extending personal routines with custom routines designed by partners, available in the coming months. Developers will be able to create and suggest routines, not just for their devices, but that can work with other devices in a customer’s home. You’ll be able to create solutions for your customers that are based on your core business and bring value to your customers – whether it’s wellness, cleaning, or entertainment. Users will be able to browse and opt-in to approved routines and choose to have Nest and other devices react and participate in that routine.

Our Smart Home efforts have grown significantly over the past several years. We now have integrations with thousands of partners covering all the major connected product categories and devices, and will continue our ambitious goal to build deeper in-home integrations. Be sure to review our docs/samples/videos to learn about all the cool new stuff, and connect with us on our dev communities.

Announcing New Smart Home SHED Types and Traits

Posted by Toni Klopfenstein, Developer Advocate

Back in April, we released the first set of Smart Home Entertainment Device (SHED) types, including TV, set-top box, and remote, as well as the traits AppSelector, InputSelector, MediaState, TransportControl, and Volume. We are excited to announce the release of new Smart Home Entertainment Device (SHED) types and traits. These new device types and traits compliment the original set we released earlier this year, and help build out a more complete solution for smart home media and gaming devices. By implementing these types and traits on your entertainment devices, you can enable users to fully access device and media controls from any Assistant surface.

SHED Types and Traits

To expand the SHED options, we’ve released the following new device types for Smart Home:

  • Audio-video receiver
  • Streaming box
  • Streaming stick
  • Soundbar
  • Streaming soundbar
  • Speaker

We’ve also released the following new trait:

  • Channel

To ensure a consistent, high-quality experience for all end users, each of these device types require your service to report activityState and playbackStatus to Google using the ReportState API. This requirement improves the portability between media devices and helps the Assistant better understand user intents for these devices. By implementing the complete set of recommended device traits, you can further improve the quality of your smart home Action and improve device targeting for media playback command fulfilment.

For more information on how to implement these new device features, check out the docs and samples. You can also join us at our “Hey Google” Smart Home Virtual Summit to learn more about these new features.

We want to hear from you, so continue sharing your feedback with us through the issue tracker, and engage with other smart home developers in the /r/GoogleAssistantDev community. Follow @ActionsOnGoogle on Twitter for more of our team’s updates, and tweet using #AoGDevs to share what you’re working on. We can’t wait to see what you build!

Announcing Enhanced Smart Home Analytics

Posted by Toni Klopfenstein, Developer Advocate

When creating scalable applications, consistent and reliable monitoring of resources is a valuable tool for any developer. Today we are releasing enhanced analytics and logging for Smart Home Actions. This feature enables you to more quickly identify and respond to errors or quality issues that may arise.

Request Latency Dashboard

You can now access the smart home dashboard with pre-populated metrics charts for your Actions on the Analytics tab in the Actions Console, or through Cloud Monitoring. These metrics help you quantify the health and usage of your Action, and gain insight into how users engage with your Action. You can view:

  • Execution types and device traits used
  • Daily users and request counts
  • User query response latency
  • Success rate for Smart Home engagements
  • Comparison of cloud and local fulfilment interactions

Successful Requests Dashboard

Cloud Logging provides detailed logs based on the events observed in Cloud Monitoring.

We’ve added additional features to the error logs to help you quickly debug why intents fail, which particular device commands malfunction, or if your local fulfilment falls back to cloud fulfilment.

New details added to the event logs include:

  • Cloud vs. local fulfilment
  • EXECUTE vs. QUERY intents
  • Locale of request
  • Device Type

You can additionally export these logs through Cloud Pub/Sub, and build log-based metrics and alerts for your development teams to gain insights into common issues.

For more guidance on accessing your Smart Home Action analytics and logs, check out the developer guide or watch the video.

We want to hear from you! Continue sharing your feedback with us through the issue tracker, and engage with other smart home developers in the /r/GoogleAssistantDev community. Follow @ActionsOnGoogle on Twitter for more of our team’s updates, and tweet using #AoGDevs to share what you’re working on. We can’t wait to see what you build!

Join the “Hey Google” Smart Home Virtual Summit

Posted by Toni Klopfenstein, Developer Relations

Over the past year, we’ve been focused on building new tools and features to support our smart home developer community. Though we weren’t able to engage with you in person at Google I/O, we are pleased to announce the “Hey Google” Smart Home Virtual Summit on July 8th – an opportunity for us to come together and dive into the exciting new and upcoming features for smart home developers and users.

Join us in the keynote where Michele Turner, the Product Management director of the Smart Home Ecosystem, will share our recent smart home product initiatives and how developers can benefit from these capabilities. She will also introduce new tools that make it easier for you to develop with Google Assistant. We will also be hosting a partner panel, where you can hear from industry leaders on how they navigate the impact of COVID-19 and their thoughts on the state of the industry.

Registration is FREE! Head on over to the Summit website to register and check out the schedule. Events will be held during EMEA, APAC, and AMER friendly times. We hope to see you and your colleagues there!