One year ago, Google announced its OnHub home routers, offering consumers a simpler and more elegant solution for home connectivity. Today, the search giant is subtly expanding OnHubâ€™s capabilities into home automation courtesy of new Philips Hue light compatibility.
â€œPhilips Lighting is the first connected home device you can control directly with OnHub,â€ Googleâ€™s Ben Brown explains. â€œWe know people donâ€™t like having too many apps on their phones, so we made it possible to control your homeâ€™s Philips Hue lights without downloading an app.â€
Thatâ€™s an interesting selling point. Itâ€™s almost like Microsoft was onto something with Windows phone.
Google announced OnHub in August 2015, focusing on both simplicity and elegance. It is an attractive deviceâ€”well, they now, since there are multiple models nowâ€”and works really simple, and shares some nice functional/UX DNA with such Google products as Project Fi andthe Nexus family of devices. I tried oneâ€”still have it in factâ€”and came away impressed. But because Iâ€™d still need to leave my FIOS router up and running, for me it was just additional complexity. Another thing.
On a side note, Iâ€™m curious why or how Google is able to keep foisting these hardware side projects, compared to Microsoft, which seems to need a business justification for anything these days. Not sure if itâ€™s just the Googly way of doing things or whatever, but they certainly have their own history of silently killing off products. Not sure if itâ€™s as rich as Microsoftâ€™s history, at least yet.
But OnHub is still with us. And now itâ€™s even getting better, assuming you only need lights control, and are interested in Philips Hue lights specifically. One assumes more is coming, perhaps some kind of Nest integration.