What Is Google Brillo and Weave?

Nest thermostat (UK Version)
Image courtesy Nest

The nutshell: Brillo and Weave are part of an Android-based platform Google introduced to power the Internet of Things.

The "Internet of Things" refers to non-computer devices with embedded Internet communication to enhanced the experience. The Nest thermostat (on Amazon)  is a classic example. The Nest uses Wi-Fi to let you control it remotely, but more importantly, it uses Wi-Fi to personalize heating and cooling in anticipation of your preferences - before you even have to ask.

The Nest compares your schedule with typical heating and cooling preferences of similar users to use less energy heating or cooling when you're likely not home or not awake. 

Embedded devices include thermostats, obviously, but also gardening tools (on Amazon), electronic picture frames,  washers and dryers, coffee makers, cars, carbon monoxide detectors, microwaves, home security systems, fridges, and more. 

Why would they need an operating system? 

Once you launch hundreds of embedded devices on the Internet of Things, you run into a problem of scale. Do I need to tell my heater AND my security system AND my coffee maker that I'm going to be on vacation next week? Why can't I tell them all at once from a single app?

Why can't I plan this week's menu from my phone and have the app check my fridge for groceries and notify the grocery store to have those items ready for me to pick up on my way home?

My car could then tell my oven that I'm on the way and let it start preheating so I could start baking as soon as I arrived. My house would also be my preferred temperature when I arrived, and the doors would unlock as soon as my car pulled into the garage. 

Google introduced Brillo and Weave as components of a new Internet of Things platform during the I/O 2015 developer conference.

Brillo would allow hardware developers to quickly prototype and develop compatible devices with an embedded Brillo operating system, while Weave is a communication platform to allow devices to talk to each other and to other apps. Weave also handles user setup. 

Brillo and Weave are currently in invite-only development stages. Google hopes that by introducing the platform, it can create even more innovative uses for connected devices and give consumers confidence that their devices will work together.