Getting Google Home to work with OpenHAB3 and

I have OpenHABian 3 running and connected to In myoprnhab I have my overview page and the icons on it seems to work just fine. Now when I attach Google Home to myopenhab I get an error message ‘No devices found’. And in fact there are no devices listed in myopenhab.

I have read messages about adding tags to items in the home.items file. Tried to do that, but I can not find the file in question. There is a lot of talk about paperUI. I do not have that installed, not sure how to install it. Right now I have the ‘basicUI’ should I change that to something else? If so what and how?

Any help would be great, not sure where I am going wrong. Is it the use of the wrong UI, just missing something fundamental? Just not sure…

It looks like you are looking at old posts or documentation or something. It has been some time since GA Integration dropped the use of tags.

Have you looked at the docs? Google Assistant | openHAB


Maybe you could share some example, I have openhabian running with google assistant, a bunch of goole mini speakers used for interaction with oh. But I use metadata information for ga.

I can see what I need to do (I think). I read the link you send, it is very detailed and helpful. What I am finding with the documentation is a lot of information is assumed to be in the readers knowledge base. An example would be telling someone how to drive a car… “Put the car is Drive, slowly depress the gas peddle and steer.” Pretty simple. Problem is if the person reading does not know what “Drive” is the phrase “Put the car in Drive” looks more like a location for the car to be placed.

I can see how the ga information is to be added. But missing the there Where should it be added, both the line syntax, AND the file that contains the metadata. I am very new to OpenHAB so I do not have a background that would tell me what files need to be modified.

It is like I am in a dark room swinging a big stick hoping that I hit the correct things.

Are you using .items files or the UI to manage your Items.

If using .items files then add the metadata as demonstrated in the docs. For example

Switch powerItem      (lightGroup) { ga="lightPower" }

That’s the definition of a Switch Item in a .items file with Google Assistant metadata indicating the Item switches a light.

If using the UI to manage your Items:

It should be obvious what to do from that point.

Quite bluntly, this is because we don’t have an army of trained technical writers producing documentation. It’s all a volunteer effort, and often by developers or community members who have a high level of familiarity with OH. As you’ve noted, when someone has knowledge, it’s difficult to write for people who don’t–the writer will make too many assumptions subconsciously, and see one step where there are actually three.

Driving a car is a great metaphor, where you’ve actually skipped the important step of “start the car”. It’s really easy to overlook things we take for granted. (I’m just using this as an example…let’s not get caught up on inspecting your lights, adjusting mirrors, and putting on seatbelts.)

The solution, if you’re willing, is for you to contribute edits to the documentation while you’re figuring this out. You’re far more likely to notice the gaps and how to fill them in correctly, since you’re aware of all the steps. It might sound daunting, but it’s actually fairly simple to submit edits once you’ve done it a few times. I’m not suggesting that you rewrite entire sections, but every minor edit helps someone else avoid the same issues in the future.

That was the missing piece. The link for the meta data. Got a few of my light switches in now. For some reason my dimmer switches did not come across to Google. I set up the meta data and called them ‘lights’. Was this not correct, or should I have called them something else?


Guessing that is a subtle hint to put up for shut up… :slight_smile:

What are peoples thoughts on having an area for NOOB type questions and answers? I am willing to take it on with two limitations: A) It be exclusively for Beginner/Starting Out questions, and B) Be limited to OpenHAB 3 (and up).

IMHO something like this would give people a toe hold to boot strap themselves to a level of understanding that the rest of the documentation makes sense. I would even be willing to look at writing a chapter “So you are looking at OpenHABian” a barebones description of getting a small OpenHABian set up working, a springboard so to speak.


Nope, not at all. It’s a fair question as to why the docs aren’t better, because most people don’t realize how much time and effort commercial companies put into writing manuals and FAQs. So, if we don’t ask people to contribute, no one will realize that they can. I don’t expect you to know this, in the same way that I don’t expect developers to write perfect documentation.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. As you pointed out with the documentation, beginners don’t know what they don’t know. That includes not knowing if they’re asking beginner-level questions. It’s too subjective to an individual’s perception of what’s easy and what’s hard. The same goes for long-time community members–there’s a good chance that Rich and I disagree on what constitutes a beginner-level question.

Google Assistant is a really good example of this. In my opinion, adding metadata for a lightswitch might be beginner-level, but adding a thermostat is an intermediate task. A beginner likely doesn’t know that–they just want to get their thermostat working.

That’s what the “Getting Started” and “Installation Guide” sections of the documentation are supposed to be, and suggestions for improvement are welcome. But the other side of the coin is that many people just don’t read manuals, whether for openHAB or any other device/tool/appliance/vehicle they buy. As long as that’s the case, we’re going to keep having the same questions with the same “please read the documentation” answers.

And so, it comes back to my original point: incremental improvement to specific docs by people who can perceive the gaps and fill them in. It’s tricky, because you don’t want to explain “how to make an item” in every single doc. So, we need to find the right balance between being not informative and too repetitive.

The bottom line is that technical documentation is very difficult to produce and maintain. With a system as complex and open-ended as openHAB, it’s nearly impossible to account for every user. But the more help we get, the better it will be.

I don’t have dimmers so I can’t really help with a specific issue like that. I’ve pretty much only exposed plain old switches to Google.

I wouldn’t say that. But it is an explanation. Few like to work on docs. Those who do work on the docs tend to be experts already. We don’t have the insights of a new user coming forward.

But we do have one hard and fast rule that makes it a little harder for new users. We simply do not have the man power to repeat documentation. So the little bit about where to apply metadata to Items isn’t a part of the GA documentation because it would duplicated some docs that are (or should be) covered in other parts of the docs. We don’t have enough contributors to support duplicated docs like that and handle even simple changes that would now ripple across lots of pages.

I’m not against it but I’m not sure it’s needed. I don’t think there is an expectation in any of the categories that the poster is at a given level in OH. And each user has a different level of expertise depending on the OH feature. For example, I’m pretty good in rules but I know nothing of KNX or modbus. I’d be a beginner if I posted about either of those.

The only thing we ask of any poster, be they beginners or experts is to provide lots of details, answer all questions asked, and show that you’ve done at least a minimal amount of work searching and reading the docs to find the solution.

When I asked above if you had read the docs, it wasn’t rhetorical. If you had read those docs it’s helpful to find out what was confusing or misunderstood in those docs so they can be made better.

The Tutorials and Solutions section is the place where posts like these would be placed. Or you can contribute to the existing docs. There’s the Getting Started Tutorial which isn’t finished but I’m a little stuck waiting for rules development to settle a bit before spending too much more time on it. Great things are happening but they are not yet ready for prime time.

People have also created YouTube videos, blog posts, reddit posts, and more. Pretty much any avenue is open for you and you don’t really have to ask permission to start, though contributing to the main docs requires review and collaboration.

But I really want to emphasize this. We are fully aware that the docs are not complete and fully understandable. We do the best we can but that only takes us so far. If you’ve read the docs and found it confusing or they didn’t answer your question, we need to know. There might be something we can do to help. At a minimum we can provide further explanation here on the forum to help with your specific problem.

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