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Google takes aim at the internet of things with new Brillo operating system


Powered by article titled “Google takes aim at the internet of things with new Brillo operating system” was written by Samuel Gibbs and Sam Thielman in New York, for on Thursday 28th May 2015 19.08 UTC

Google intends to be the center of the connected home with its new “internet of things” operating system, Brillo.

Google Brillo is designed to run on and connect multiple low-power devices, connecting anything from a washing machine to a rubbish bin and linking in with existing Google technologies.

The move is an expansion of the company’s Android mobile operating system, which powers more than half of the world’s smartphones, and the recent acquisition of Nest – a smart-device company with a learning thermostat and smoke alarm.

Brillo is designed to be a bare-bones system that allows easy connection between devices. It would give Google a beachhead into the expanding connected device ecosystem. Part of establishing that beachhead is Weave, a competing standard to Apple’s HomeKit (set to ramp up later this year), which can work independently of Brillo and allows apps in the smart lamps of the future to talk to apps in smart soap dispensers.

“Weave is available cross-platform,” said Google senior vice-president Sundar Pichal. “You can have Brillo and Weave together or you can have Weave alone.” There will also be voice interface, so that when you talk your refrigerator will listen.

The internet of things (IoT) essentially describes an environment where everything is connected to the internet, creating “swarm intelligence” from individually dumb devices. Bins, toasters, roads and lights will be able to talk to each other for automatic, more efficient control and monitoring.

For instance, a bin could tell the council or city when it is full and needs collecting, rather than just on a set schedule. A fridge could detect when the milk is empty and order another pint. A heating or air conditioning system could track its owner and only turn on when they are on their way home.

The IoT has promised much for years – it was recently identified, by the research firm Garner, as the most over-hyped technology in development.

One of the biggest issues for IoT is the lack of interoperable standards. Google is not the only company interested in the connected device space.

Having bought IoT firm Smart Things, Samsung recently pledged to make every product it produces, from washing machines to smartphones, IoT-ready and connected to the internet within five years.

IoT risks becoming a format war, wherein your Beko oven doesn’t speak to your Smeg fridge, because each is using proprietary connections and software.

Samsung has said its IoT devices will be open to connecting to non-Samsung devices. Google, however, could be well placed to open up an IoT ecosystem featuring compatibility with other offerings. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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