Google Home confirmed to get offline mode — what it means for your smart home

google nest audio
(Image credit: Future)

If you’ve ever had an issue with Google’s smart home tech thanks to your internet cutting out, you’ll be happy to know a solution is coming. During a Reddit AMA Google confirmed that it’s working on a bunch of stuff for its smart home platform, including an offline mode.

Normally, smart home tech without the internet is more or less useless. Commands from your phone or tablet have to be routed through a company server first, regardless of how close your devices are in the real world. No internet connection means no access to servers, and therefore commands can’t be transmitted. 

Offline mode will fix that glaring oversight — enabling the option for local control when your home internet cuts out. Unfortunately Google Home users will have to wait a while before this feature actually becomes available. 

Apparently Google is focussed on “routing more of your interactions locally” with the Matter smart home standard “to get the reliability and latency benefits." Once “a significant portion of your traffic” is running locally, it’ll give users the chance to do things “completely offline." This makes sense, as you can’t have an offline mode if there’s no local connectivity to control after all.

Other reveals in the AMA include that Google has plans to integrate older generation Nest cameras, which are currently incompatible with Google Home. One of the devs claimed that updating the firmware is a “significant technical challenge” because of the age of this hardware — but they are making progress.

There’s also work being done to add support for third-party hardware, including Wyze, eufy and others. But apparently adding better non-Google hardware support takes time due to security and quality controls, which require collaboration with the company in question. So if that’s something you’ve been waiting for, you’re in for another indeterminate wait.

Of course, I don’t expect third-party hardware will be integrated into that future offline mode anytime soon. It would be nice, but we’re probably better off waiting for those companies to offer their own offline support — ensuring your devices are usable when the internet goes down.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.