Google Home support

(Andy Swing) #1

I am happy to report that my ha-bridge + OpenHAB setup works great with Google Home (better than Echo, actually). :grinning: It’s fast and accurate and handles lots of devices. I have over 30 configured, many with similar names like “Kitchen Sink” and “Kitchen Area”, and Home handles them no problem (Alexa tended to get confused).

I am still running 1.8.3 and so I cannot test the Hue Emulation on 2.0, but I suspect some changes might be necessary to make it work. ha-bridge had to change the UPnP discovery code a bit (Home requires a set of three response packets) and also has to run on port 80. Take a look at the changes that went into ha-bridge v3.2.0 as well as this pull request with updated documentation for Home support and the additional discovery packets.

For reference, I found this help article with a list of light commands supported by Home.

2 Likes

HueEmulation and Google Home support
(Andy Swing) #2

Quick update: the main ha-bridge documentation is now live at https://github.com/bwssytems/ha-bridge

0 Likes

(hazymat) #3

Hi @andy_swing. I was just about to buy an Echo and a Dot, but reading this I might wait until the Google Home becomes available here in the UK.

Looks like you’ve tested both, mind if I ask you a few questions?

  1. You said Echo got confused over similar devices. Was it the voice recognition of different items, or the bridge / control of the items?

  2. What bridges have you tested for each? I noticed the following:
    a. unityfire/alexa-ha (not sure if this can interface with OpenHAB
    b. armzilla/amazon-echo-ha-bridge (recommended on Aaron Tinsley’s blog for OpenHAB)
    c. built-in Echo configuration at http://yourip:8080/configurator.html (a comment on the above blog)
    d. bwssytems/ha-bridge that you mentioned for Google Play - does it work for things that aren’t lights?

  3. How have you found the performance of each? I’m talking about the delay between speaking the command and seeing the lights change. I’m guessing it depends most on the OpenHAB hardware, but maybe there are some difference?

  4. Sorry for this basic question, I read loads of Amazon Q&A but the quality of the answers were poor: will the Dot support anything that the Echo full version supports, in terms of OpenHAB (or any other integration)?

  5. Other than not getting device names confused, what else in particular is better about the Google Home (I’m interested in how it relates to OpenHAB, as well as in general!)

Sorry for the barrage of questions!

Cheers

Mat

1 Like

(Andy Swing) #4

Appologies for my tardy response! I’ve tried to answer your questions below.

  1. Echo gets confused about which device I want to control, even though I have said the names clearly. It means I have to speak the same thing twice in certain cases where there are several device names that contain the same sub-string (e.g. if you have 5 lights that start with the word “Kitchen”). It’s a very unsmooth experience, as Alexa is constantly asking for clarification about which device I actually wanted to control.

  2. The main bridge is ‘d’, bwssystems/ha-bridge. ‘b’ is actually what ha-bridge is based on, but has fallen out of date. ‘a’ is an Alexa skill which is very different than bridge emulation. I would stay away from the custom Skills for thsi use case, as they have high latency (rely on cloud services) and typically require you to open ports on your firewall to communicate with a local network web server.

  3. Performance is pretty snappy for both, with Google Home feeling just a touch faster. Sometimes the Echo has to “think” for some time before recognizing my speech (Google has better speech recognition technology in my opinion).

  4. Yes, the Dot supports the same set of skills & features that the full Echo does, minus the high-quality speaker and bluetooth.

  5. I find the Google Home to generally just work better and it has access to a lot more high-quality information thanks to Google Search and their Knowledge Graph. Their speech recognition is amazing, especially when you consider they do it all with just two microphones! I have had it pick me up from a room or two away no problem, as well as in noisy environments.

I am also a big Chromecast & Chromecast Audio user and it’s wonderful to have voice control over all of the multimedia in my house. They have done a great job integrating that stuff in (e.g. ability to play/pause/skip from any Home device or Android phone, independant of which device started the media).

I also think that in general Google has a better shot of becoming a true “personal assistant” than Amazon. This is of course assuming you have a Google account and are OK with them aggregating all of your personal info. It’s a trade-off I am personally very happy to make in exchange for awesome (free) things that make my life better, more fun, etc. Home control is just one piece of the puzzle! :slight_smile:

2 Likes

(Nathan Stratton) #5

Google home support push notifications yet?

0 Likes

(Andy Swing) #6

Not yet, but I am hopeful they will add it soon (e.g. through IFTTT).

0 Likes

(Artyom Syomushkin) #7

Just wanted to ask about this. How good can it recognize the voice? What is the achievable distance? Do you have to scream “OK, Google”? Does it recognize men’s,woman’s, children’s voices? Does it need to learn the key phrase? What about TV set or music, playing in the background?

0 Likes

(Andy Swing) #8

My experience has been that it works better than expectations. If the house is quiet, I can speak at a normal voice and two rooms away it will hear me. With some background noise (e.g. in the kitchen), I can still speak in a normal voice and it works just fine in the same room. Same is true when listening to music (I use it a lot to control music on my whole-house audio system).

I have one in the living room a few feet from the TV and I can usually have it recognize me during a show or movie (though you kind of have to speak up to get over loud scenes) which is great for pausing and resuming things without a remote or turning out the lights to watch a movie. You definitely want a bit of separation from your TV’s speakers, but it doesn’t have to be on the opposite side of the room or anything.

I have not tested it with kids, but my wife’s voice can also control it no problem.

There is no training needed - it works right out of the box.

Overall, I’ve found it very natural to converse at normal volumes as if there was a person standing where the device is. In fact, it can hear better than a person in most cases. :slight_smile:

1 Like

(Greg) #9

Looking forward to when I can say “Hey Google, tell the kids their dinner is ready…”

Openhab then shuts down the internet to their devices, and pushes full screen notifications to all of their devices to come and eat… The notification can’t be cleared for 30mins( long enough to eat their dinner)

Winner!

3 Likes

(Andy Swing) #10

@greg You can do this already via the Google Assistant IFTTT support! You can define a command string that then triggers an OpenHAB action. It even lets you capture a sub-string and/or number from the command if you want to get fancy. :slight_smile:

0 Likes

(hazymat) #11

@andy_swing Thanks for the really detailed reply. Only saw it just now (!) and since that time I bought a couple of Echoes… just for testing, ya know :wink: Google Home isn’t out here in the UK yet.

So I’m pretty excited about getting a Google Home when it does eventually arrive.

The thing that annoys me most about the Echo is the thing you mentioned about it getting confused between items with similar sounding names. There’s no possible reason I can think of for this to happen, it seems like such a basic flaw in logic. Alexa appears to be hearing the words correctly.

e.g. I have a few lights in one room, and I say “turn on bedroom ceiling light” - she responds saying there are many items with this name. Crazy.

Also really glad to hear the voice recognition is good even with 2 mics. I must say, 7 mics seems a little excessive but I’ll take what I can get for any increase in accuracy… but if Google nailed it with 2 then that’s great.

Thanks again for the insights!

0 Likes

(Daniel Hermann) #12

Sorry if this question might be stupid, as I am just considering switching to openhab, thus I have no experience with it yet.

Is it (easily) possible to integrate Google Home now with openhab, or better yet openhab2?

For me that would be a reason to switch to openhab.

thanks
Daniel

0 Likes

(Andy Swing) #13

I found it very easy to set up ha-bridge (which just works w/ Google Home) to work with OH1. I have over 30 lights and other items controlled that way, including my whole house audio system. It supports both ON/OFF and dim commands (which can be used for other things, like setting volume).

I can’t comment on the OH2 built-in Hue emulation, but I’d imagine that works very well at this point too.

0 Likes

(Nicholas Waterton) #14

Anyone have any comments on OH2 hue emulation support for google home? I have both Echo Dots and a newly arrived google home.

The Echo dots work perfectly with OH2 (except for the odd device name confusion as noted). Google home doesn’t find any devices, so some work is required for OH2 to connect.

I’m in Canada (both devices are not available here either), but work reasonably well.

My pro’s and cons so far:

Alexa is much more natural sounding (google home is a bit robotic and talks a bit fast)
Google assistant only works if your device is set to English (US) region US. No English (UK), or Canada.
Alexa is programmable through Skills - which are quite easy to set up. I have 4 running of my own. Google home is not (but it’s early days).
Google home only supports nest, hue, and smartthings so far.
Alexa devices only allow limited addresses as home addresses (US, UK, and Germany). Google home takes any address as home. This is more of a deal than you would think.
Alexa can’t do general searches, or follow up questions well. Google home does these very well.
Echo Dot has Bluetooth (works great with my main speakers). Google home only has cromecast, no Bluetooth.

For an example Skill, I have a “TV” Skill, that uses Openhab to control the TV through OH2 SamsungTV binding and GC100 binding (for the ir cable box). This allows me to control tv volume, change STB channel etc. I can now say “Alexa, ask the tv to tune to CTV”, and it does, with voice confirmation (“channel CTV HD, 518”). Awesome!

Any suggestions on how to get google home to recognize the OH2 hue emulation?

1 Like

(Wally) #15

In order for OH2’s hue emulation to work with Google Home, u need to redirect port 80 to OH2’s default port 8080, after that your google home will discover and pair with your OH2.

I’ve successfully add my harmony hub’s devices/activities as hue lights using ha-bridge, setup is very easy. On the contrary, I haven’t figured out yet how to expose those same devices via hue emulation path, so can’t comment on their performance.

0 Likes

(Nicholas Waterton) #16

Thanks,

I found the HueEmulation and Google Home Support Topic, and have Google Home working now.

Regards,

Nick Waterton P.Eng.

0 Likes

(Daniel Hermann) #17

I am sorry to highjack this thread, but how did you get the the native hue-emulation of OH2 to work?

I forwarded port 80 to 8080, have devices, but neither google home nor other hue apps find any devices/bridge? What else do I have to do?

thanks
Daniel

0 Likes

(Matthew Valeri) #18

I believe there is a modified hue-emulation binding that you have to use that is outlined in another thread. I don’t think you can do this with the native one. I believe this is the thread and the .jar can be found here:

https://community.openhab.org/t/hueemulation-and-google-home-support/16283/16?u=rhinesel

0 Likes

(Thien Pham) #19

I am on OH 1.8.3 and have ha-bridge 4.0.3 on a raspberry pi 3, along with a Google Home. I set up some Philips Hue lights on ha-bridge as passthru items and have setup regular Philips Hue bindings for OpenHab. This works but I am noticing if I switch lights on/off in the OpenHab interface, I don’t think Google Home recognizes the change. So if I ask Google Home…“is the light on in the Master Bedroom”. She will respond but with the wrong answer.

Also on the Openhab interface I have Group Switches to turn on/off all lights in the Living Room. This also works but the Slider/Dimmers I set up for each of those individual lights always end up at 100% even though the actual lights is not at 100%. Is this a known issue? Again this is very basic item setup and sitemap setup for sliders and group switches.

items:

//Light switches
Switch TV_Hue "Speaker " <hue> (Living_Room_Lights, All_Lights) {hue="1"}
Switch Master_Bedroom_Hue "Master Bedroom" <hue> (Master_Bedroom_Lights, All_Lights) {hue="2"}
Switch Computer_Hue "Computer" <hue> (Living_Room_Lights, All_Lights) {hue="3"}

//Light dimmers
Dimmer TV_Hue_B "Speaker [%d%%]" <hue> (Living_Room_Lights, All_Lights) {hue="1;brightness;20"}
Dimmer Master_Bedroom_Hue_B "Master Bedroom [%d%%]" <hue> (Master_Bedroom_Lights, All_Lights) {hue="2;brightness;20"}
Dimmer Computer_Hue_B "Computer [%d%%]" <hue> (Living_Room_Lights, All_Lights) {hue="3;brightness;20"}

//Group light switches
Group:Switch:OR(ON,OFF) All_Lights "All Lights" <hue>
Group:Switch:OR(ON,OFF) Master_Bedroom_Lights "Master Bedroom Lights" <hue>
Group:Switch:OR(ON,OFF) Living_Room_Lights "Living Room Lights" <hue>

sitemap:

sitemap home label="My Home" {
  Frame label="Rooms" {
    Group label="Living Room" icon="sofa" {
      Frame label="Lights" {
        Slider    item=TV_Hue_B 
        Slider    item=Computer_Hue_B
        Switch    item=Living_Room_Lights
      } 
    }

    Group label="Master Bedroom" icon="bedroom" {
      Frame label="Lights" {
        Slider    item=Master_Bedroom_Hue_B
        Switch    item=Master_Bedroom_Hue
        Switch    item=Master_Bedroom_Lights
      }
    }
    
  }

  Frame label="All Lights"{
    Switch item=All_Lights
  }
  
}
0 Likes

(Paul Hudd) #20

Hi Andy
Do you know if there is any support fir google home to Pure jongo speakers. Alexa worked right out the box with my Pure speakers but google home can’t see them.

Any advise would be great.
Regards

Big H

0 Likes