Google just took a major step in Matter's direction, bringing the highly-anticipated interconnectivity protocol to Google Nest, Android and Google Home smart home devices.
While Google enlisted as a member of the Connectivity Standard Alliance's smart home initiative in 2021, Matter just officially launched this November. Until now, we didn't know which Google devices would be Matter-compatible (a.k.a., play nice with an ecosystem than may include more than 500 devices from dozens of smart home companies by the end of this year.)
We've already seen companies like Amazon and Samsung share how Matter will benefit smart home systems and simultaneously maintain differentiating assets in the connected home market. Google plans to do the same with its role in Matter.
Not only will all Google Home speakers ranging from the original Google Home to the Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) be updated with Matter, but Google's Android mobile platform will bring connectivity convenience through a feature called Fast Pair.
Setting up new smart home devices, even in the ultimate smart home, can be hassle. It often takes several steps to get a new device online and communicating with the rest of your system. Fast Pair for Android looks to streamline the setup experience, recognizing when you turn on a new product and initiating a connection with your home network automatically.
Of course, we'll want to see how smoothly Fast Pair actually works. But ideally, it would make setting up a new smart home device as simple as pairing Bluetooth earbuds to your smartphone. When a Matter-compliant device is turned on and enters its set up mode, the option for Fast Pair should appear on your Android device with options for how you'd like to integrate it in your home.
In fact, that's one of the most compelling aspects of Matter — the ability to designate which devices you want to appear and be controlled in a given smart home platform. You can have all your Matter-compliant devices in every hub app (ie. Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, HomeKit) or you can choose certain devices to exist only in one app. It sounds like Fast Pair on Android will help you make these designations upon set up.
What this means for you
According to Google, there's nothing you need to do for your Android, Google Home and Nest devices to support Matter. All devices have been automatically updated, meaning you can start experimenting with a Matter smart home experience now.
That said, smart home brands are in the process of rolling out Matter support to their devices. Many devices are confirmed to have passed the CSA's certification process and can don the Matter badge on their packaging, but it will be some time before enough products are supporting the Matter protocol to make an impact on homes with loads of connected devices.