Now Google wants to sell you light bulbs

Posted by Emma Woollacott

If you thought there were limits to Google's plans for world domination, think again.

The company's announced plans to fill your home with electrical products including light bulbs, dishwashers and thermostats which can be controlled remotely via an Android device.

The plan is to create a series of devices that can communicate wirelessly with PCs and phones, under a project called Android@Home.

"We want to think of every device in your home as a connection to Android apps," says product management director Hugo Barra.

Users would be able to turn lights and heating on and off, download music from the internet to a hifi and start home appliances running.

Other applications include Project Tungsten, an Android device for Music Beta designed to give more control over music playback. The company's demonstrated a CD with an NFC label that can simply touch to an Android@Home system to add music to the user's library or start itd playing.

The system is based on a new mesh network wireless protocol, which Google has open-sourced, in the hope that other home automation companies will adopt it.

It's based on the based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard for wireless personal area networks (WPAN), which forms the foundation of ZigBee, but uses the 6LoWPAN (IPv6 over low-power WPAN) protocol on top. Unlike ZigBee, it will allow for enough bandwidth to transfer video.

The first product to be available is likely to be an LED bulb, developed by Lighting Sciences Group, which contains an integrated radio. The bulbs are expected to be available by the end of the year at around the same price as a standard LED - $30 or so.