Google Weave is a communications platform designed for IoT devices that supports phone-to-device-to-cloud communication, and user interaction from web applications and mobile. Weave features Android automatic application installations, and cloud support through mobile and desktop. Additionally, Weave offers Brillo support for building integrated and interoperable communications, and built-in easy-to-use sharing capabilities. Weave and Brillo require a program application per developer.
The “Weave” protocol – not to be confused with Google’s Weave program – will remain proprietary for the time being, and allows products to communicate peer-to-peer and without requiring an internet connection.
Weave was designed by Nest when the company first started building its now-famous round thermostat. Weave provides a secure, low-power mesh at the application layer to enable one product to interact with and trigger actions in others (think a smoke alarm telling a thermostat to stop running an HVAC fan to slow the spread of fire).
The focus is on “secure.” There are several standards and protocols designed to enable multiple diverse products in the “internet of things” to communicate with one another. There is Zigbee and Z-Wave, Bluetooth and WiFi.
Google’s Weave platform is easier for all types of devices to connect to the cloud and interact with services like the Google Assistant. Device makers like Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings already use Weave, and several others like Belkin WeMo, LiFX, Honeywell, Wink, TP-Link, and First Alert are implementing it. Weave provides all the cloud infrastructure, so that developers can focus on building their products without investing in cloud services. Weave also includes a Device SDK for supported microcontrollers and a management console. The Weave Device SDK currently supports schemas for light bulbs, smart plugs and switches, and thermostats. Google is planing to add support for additional device types, custom schemas/traits, and a mobile application API for Android and iOS. Google is also working towards merging Weave and Nest Weave to enable all classes of devices to connect with each other in a secure and reliable way. So whether you started with Google Weave or Nest Weave, there is a path forward in the ecosystem.
Weave also presents an additional complexity. There is a version of Weave originally developed by Nest and then the newer version, and, at the moment, they are not completely compatible.
As per IoT industry experts, Weave will have to compete with MQTT and CoAP — both open, lightweight IoT standards that can run on IP and provide the same functions. Google’s bet is that the Android developer community will force the adoption of Android as the device development OS and language of choice.