If you’re like me, you want all smart home devices you buy to integrate with Home Assistant directly. It allows you to combine devices and write powerful automations for your home. Unfortunately, some devices you really want may not integrate with Home Assistant (or at least not yet). But, sometimes these devices integrate with Google Assistant. What if I told you that if a device integrates with Google Assistant, Home Assistant can control it anyway? Take the red pill and read the rest of this article.
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Background on integration w/Google Assistant
Now, I’m not talking about the Google Assistant integration whereby you can make devices controlled by Home Assistant available for Google Assistant control. Home Assistant has been able to do that for years, most easily through Nabu Casa.
I’m talking about the ability to take any device that you can control with a command in Google Assistant and make that device controllable by Home Assistant. All you need is the Google Assistant SDK.
What can you do with the Google Assistant SDK?
The Google Assistant SDK allows Home Assistant to send text commands directly to Google Assistant. What this means is that if you can say “Hey Google, turn on my car” then, with the SDK, Home Assistant can get Google Assistant to do the same action by sending it the command “turn on my car.” Put simply, any voice command you can give Google Assistant to control a device is also a command that Home Assistant can send to it. For example, you can:
- Tell Nest Guard to start guarding your home
- Start a robot vacuum that only works with Google Assistant
- Open and close blinds and curtains (as I did with the SwitchBot Blind Tilt)
However, you can do even more than that. You can also broadcast messages to Google Assistant-powered speakers and displays. You may be thinking you were already able to do this by casting to Google speakers. However, with broadcast, you just pause whatever is playing, and then it goes back to it. With cast, it stops whatever is playing.
Google Assistant SDK setup
The downside of this ability is that the setup isn’t straightforward. It also requires you to be okay with going through some steps that the average user probably will find unfamiliar. However, the steps are detailed very clearly in the Home Assistant Google Assistant SDK documentation. I was able to run through them in less than 10 minutes and get everything working. I can now control my SwitchBot Blind Tilt (which allows me to automate opening and closing blinds) which, at the time of writing this article) didn’t have a direct integration with Home Assistant.
One of the things I love about Home Assistant is that it seemingly integrates with everything in some form or fashion. This makes the statement further away from hyperbole and even closer to reality. While I still prefer local Home Assistant integrations, this capability opens up a whole new set of devices for me.
Have you used Google Assistant SDK with Home Assistant? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.