Google ties Android to the smart home with Brillo and Weave

Google shares its Internet of Things vision with Brillo operating system announcement at its 2015 I/O conference.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
2 min read

Watch this: Google gets your smart-home devices talking with Weave

Today at its I/O developer's conference , Google officially announced its rumored Brillo, its Android-based operating system for smart home devices and the internet of things.

The Information first reported on Brillo last week, saying that it would be Android-branded and give smart home capabilities to a ton of low-powered household devices ranging from fridges to lights.

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Google's senior vice president Sandar Pichai confirmed Brillo today with a formal announcement at Google I/O and added a few more details. Brillo will be ready for developer preview in Q3 2015, with Weave to follow in Q4. It will consist of the operating system that presumably users will interact with to control their devices, as well as a "communication layer" called Weave. Weave will allow supporting smart home devices to understand what other smart devices are doing (knowing your door is locked, for example) and respond accordingly via user-programmed automation commands.

Pichai also described a streamlined smart device set-up process, by which you can simply select a device on your phone and it will automatically discover and link up to other Brillo/Weave supported devices. He said that Brillo will work with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless standards, as well as the Works with Nest device family from Google's Nest Labs subsidiary, makers of the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Brillo will also support the emerging Thread mesh networking standard, which Google has championed for the last year or so.

There's a lot about this announcement that remains unclear. Whether Brillo will exist on Android as a standalone application or something else is one question. Pichai also mention cross-platform support for Brillo, but he didn't specify which different platforms it would cross. If means an iOS version of a Brillo app, it will be interesting to see what, if any, interactions Apple might allow with devices that use its coming HomeKit smart home device platform.

This is a developing story. Follow CNET's Google I/O live blog and see all of today's Google news.