Brillo, Google and the Internet of Things

Just when Google’s Android buzz seemed to have ebbed after it’s yet another version of confectionery-themed code name, Google joined the Internet of Things platform wars by announcing its new brainchild Brillo at the Google I/O developer conference in May this year.


Internet of Things (IoT)  is a term coined for technology that enables devices to talk to each other and removes the need of a human/computer intermediary


Home automation is not a new concept. It has been around for quite some time now. But it hasn’t scaled as quickly as expected, mainly because the entire concept of IoT sprung out just as a concept. Sure, there was existing technology in place that was used to build systems that looked promising, but the lack of a proper, versatile environment to build entire systems that could be operated by consumers without any hassle and across multiple devices was absent, and the problem persists even today.

Google has a solution. They want to revamp the IoT scene. “We want to provide an end-to-end, complete solution” for the ecosystem, Pichai said

What is Brillo?


At its Google I/O Conference in May, the company announced Brillo, the “underlying Operating System for the Internet of Things”. Brillo extends the Android platform to all your connected devices, so they are easy to set up and work seamlessly with each other and your smartphone.

Imagine a world where all the gadgets you use daily, work in collaboration with each other just with a single touch on your smartphone, to provide you an experience which is quite ubiquitously observed in futuristic sci-fi flicks directed by the likes of Cameron and Spielberg. This is exactly what Google seems to have envisioned.

Brillo is “derived” from Android but “polished” to just the lower levels. It contains just the bare essentials of Android that can work on low power devices.

What’s does Brillo mean for the Consumers?

Imagine yourself waking up to your favorite morning track on the surround-sound ‘smart’ speakers of your room. The curtains of your window already up when you open your eyes. You move into the washroom and get a hot shower, or a cold one, depending on the weather outside, thanks to the smart-geysers. As you step out of the shower and get ready for office, your smart coffee pot has already made your favorite latte. And your toaster has already prepared some healthy brown bread which your dietitian recommended. By the time you move out of the door, all the lights and ACs have been automatically turned off. With the engine of your car revved up and roaring; the door opens as you approach and you are greeted by your car.

Wait, is that a dream?

Yes and No. With an endless possibility of smart home appliances that could interact with each other automatically, this is not a dream but a soon-to-be reality.­­

What does Brillo mean for the Developers?

If you want to be among the pioneers and developers of these cool gadgets, Weave is the language that you should be looking forward to. It provides secure and reliable communication between devices both locally (through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.) and also through the Cloud. It defines a schema which all these smart gadgets have to follow to interact with each other.

Brillo is the OS; Weave is the language it runs on. Weave can also run on other Operating Softwares, and that makes it flexible. Google will require products built on this platform to go through a certification program.

brillo and weave
Weave as the common language across platforms

Google entering this sector of the tech world is good news. If Brillo takes off, it could mean cheaper wearable tech, cheaper home automation systems and a more organized approach to the Internet of Things. Google has the weight to get major home appliance manufacturers on this platform. As a result, the technology can scale rapidly. Something Apple hasn’t been able to do with HomeKit, yet.

It’s easy for Google to integrate its services effortlessly. And that could be a major advantage for Brillo.

Brillo is going into developer review in the third quarter. Weave’s full stack will be ready to go by the end of the fourth quarter of 2015.

Android started small, and it is colossal today. Brillo could pull an Android too, and I hope it does.

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