Google unveils Brillo, Weave for the Internet of Things

It's official. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced Brillo at its I/O conference as an underlying operating system for the Internet of Things (IoT), with Weave to act as a cross-platform language that will allow Brillo devices to talk to one another.

Although it won't launch until later this year, Google wanted to preview Brillo at the I/O conference "because we're committed to fostering a vibrant ecosystem in which we all work together to move the industry forward," Google Senior Vice President of Products Sundar Pichai said in blog post.

Project Brillo is a new platform derived from Android that lets developers and manufacturers build connected devices. As part of Brillo, Google also introduced the Weave communications protocol developed in partnership with Nest, with a set of developer APIs, a core set of schemas and a certification program to ensure device and app interoperability. Google acquired Nest Labs early last year.

Google appears to be getting ready to "clean house," so to speak, with the IoT, which is home to multiple competing standards and protocols at the moment. Android devices will be able to auto-detect Brillo and Weave devices, according to a report by The Verge

Today's devices often exist independently of each other. "Our day-to-day lives will be much simpler when these technologies can talk to each other--if our recipe app, for example, could communicate with our smart oven to turn the temperature to exactly the right setting," Pichai said. "​Or outside the home--from transportation systems that notify commuters of schedule changes, to farms where harvesters and irrigation systems are controlled from phones."

Given that the user experience is inconsistent and confusing, manufacturers often redo their work for every device, devices don't interoperate, and developers often don't have a way to create great experiences across devices. That's where Brillo comes in.

Google says Brillo is "derived" from Android but "polished" to just the lower levels, according to The Verge. It supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and other Android things.

The new OS will integrate with and extend Google's existing Nest technology, VentureBeat reports. Nest's smart thermostat and smoke alarm already integrate with other connected home devices, including some from LG, Whirlpool, Logitech and a Pebble smartwatch. The new OS will widen that set of products.

Reports about Brillo surfaced last week. Google is trying to control more of the ecosystem as the fragmented IoT market consists of multiple players developing their own solutions. Samsung Electronics recently unveiled a new chipset platform for IoT called Artik, and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has said that the first devices running its smart home HomeKit software will make their debut in June.

A developer preview for Brillo is due in the third quarter, with Weave expected to roll out in the fourth quarter.

For more:
- see the Google blog
- see this VentureBeat article
- see this ZDNet article
- see The Verge article

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