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What will Matter mean for the Google Home app?

We’ve been hearing about the Matter smart home standard and what it could do for ages now, and things are on track to finally arrive later this year. In an interview ahead of this week’s Google I/O, the company has teased what Matter will mean for the Google Home app going forward.

Google’s Michelle Turner, senior director of Google Smart Home Ecosystem, offered a preview of how the Google Home app will evolve with Matter in mind in an interview with TheVerge. One of the first points where Matter will be felt, according to Turner, is during setup. Google previously previewed this faster pairing process, which includes pop-ups for smart home devices on Android.

Beyond that, Turner also explained that latency in commands should improve with Matter. Apparently, the standard will drive down latency “significantly” and “improve the overall reliability” of smart home devices. Turner also mentioned the obvious benefit of interoperability, which is one of the most exciting parts of Matter. As expected, this will allow users to control devices from the Google Home app on one device, while using Apple’s Home app on iOS, among others.

But Turner also offered up some details on Google’s future vision for the Home app that’s made possible by Matter. A “proactive” home is a big part of that vision, she says, explaining:

The proactive home is really that intelligence layer, whether it’s being able to predict that I’m going upstairs, it’s 10 at night, and I always go into my bedroom at that time, so turn on the lights for me; or, I’m watching TV, it’s 9:30PM, the kids are in bed, and I get a notification on my phone that the lights just went on in the kid’s bedroom. Is somebody sick? Are they watching YouTube? Being able to do abnormal detection.

Turner does say, however, that this vision won’t be fulfilled immediately, explaining that Google will need time to learn from how users interact with Matter-enabled devices and built predictive algorithms with that data. She says it’s taken “years” for Google to get the “Home” and “Away” routines right, and this “proactive” vision sounds a whole lot more advanced.

Interestingly, it was also mentioned that the existing Nest Thermostat is committed to Matter support, but Google apparently isn’t sure if the older Nest Learning Thermostat will be able to support the standard.

You can read Turner’s full comments on Matter at TheVerge.

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