According to Google, its Assistant now works with more than 5,000 smart home devices.
By comparison, Siri and HomeKit currently support about 200 third-party accessories.
According to the search giant, a whopping 1,500 smart home devices picked up Assistant compatibility between January and May of this year. In fact, Google says that every major device brand in the United States now supports its AI helper.
Assistant works especially well with Nest products.
If you have a Nest Hello doorbell, the Assistant will alert you if someone rings the doorbell, sending a chime to your smart speaker or phone with the option to view the live stream right from your phone, TV or our new line of Smart Display devices available later this year. This Nest product was the first to ship with this feature, and we’ll enable Assistant notifications on more home security devices from other popular brands later this year.
Apple’s platform for the connected home has been great so far both in terms of feature set and privacy, but Siri’s rather limited scope and poor third-party support have been holding HomeKit back from widespread adoption.
As a reminder, Siri currently support a handful of most popular domains, like mobile payment, messaging, to-dos, VoIP and so forth. The problem with Siri is not Apple’s approach to privacy, but its approach to extending Siri’s functionality in third-party apps.
Google and Amazon do not impose such restrictions so vendors can add voice support to apps and devices without too much fuss. Stringent HomeKit requirements aren’t helping either.
Before iOS 11, for example, the iPhone maker required that device vendors use pricey authentication and encryption chips to protect user privacy. Encryption is still a requirement, but Apple now permits device makers to implement encryption in software.
As a result, existing smart home devices can now pick up HomeKit support by way of a simple firmware update. Apple also has another problem on its hands: a report from The Information alleged that smart home builders in the United States may be increasingly picking Alexa accessories over HomeKit products.
“Apple is closed source about what will talk to their system, so we shied away from it,” said CR Herro, a vice president with Meritage Homes. “I don’t want to restrict what I think the future could be because I have no idea what it will be.”
What do you think Apple should do to catch up to Amazon and Google in terms of ensuring that as many accessories for the connected home are HomeKit-compatible as possible?
Let us know in the comments!