Google has been slowly closing the gap between what Amazon's Alexa speakers and its own are capable of. Among other small additions along the way, since its launch in November, Google has rolled out Actions -- which are third-party services -- and added the ability to throw movies and TV shows from Netflix to Chromecasts ($35 at B&H Photo-Video) or Cast-enabled TVs. Today, Google announced official support for smart home devices from 12 brands.
One of the newly supported companies is Lifx, whose line of smart lights now seamlessly integrate with Google Home. But don't delete your IFTTT applets just yet.
How to connect Lifx bulbs to Google Home
Connecting your Lifx lights to the Home takes just a few seconds, but it will save you some frustration if you take the time to make sure your Lifx bulbs are clearly differentiated (and easily pronounceable) in the Lifx app first. Once that's squared away:
- Open the Google Home app on your iOS or Android device.
- Tap the three-line "hamburger" button in the top left corner of the app to expand the left menu and select Home control.
- Tap the + sign in the bottom right corner of the app.
- Select Lifx from the options under Add new.
- Enter your Lifx account credentials and tap Sign in.
- Tap Authorize.
- Assign each light in your account to a room in your Google Home account by tapping the pencil icon to the far right and selecting a room from the listed options.
- Click Done.
Once connected, you'll be able to control your Lifx lights using any Google Home speakers in your home, or any Android devices with Google Assistant. Unlike with Alexa, where Lifx support is made possible through a third-party skill, support here is directly integrated, so you can control the lights with natural phrases. Say things like, "Hey, Google, turn the living room lights blue," or, "OK, Google, brighten the office lights."
You can control lights individually, so marking each bulb with an easily pronounceable name will be a large benefit. Any changes you make to the bulbs from within the Lifx app will be reflected immediately in the Google Home app.
The unfortunate part is that scenes are not supported. So if you've got specific scenes setup for work, watching movies, mornings or anything else, you won't be able to activate those using only Google Home.
- Once you load the applet page, click Turn on.
- If desired, change the title to something more suitable.
- Alter the phrases from "turn lights $" to something like "movie time."
- For the action part or the applet, click to expand the dropdown menu and select the scene you want to assign the command to.
- Click Save.
While these will require a little setup, the upshot is that after they're setup, the scene activations will be just as natural to speak as the official Lifx commands.