A new Google thermostat has been discovered at the FCC, indicating that it could include gesture control from Google Solos using a new sensor. It’s been a few years since Google last updated the Nest thermostat. In recent years, intelligent HVAC competition has emerged to fill this void.
Indeed, much of what set Nest’s connected thermostat apart in the early days has now been matched or surpassed by competitors. This includes the opportunity to learn behaviors and patterns in the household, proactively adjust temperatures accordingly and enable remote control via a smartphone app or intelligent loudspeakers.
A new filing, led by Dave Zatz today through the FCC, could indicate that Google is poised to push back. As expected, Google̵
According to the test report, the new Google thermostat model G4CVZ not only offers WiFi 802.11n support (2.4 / 5 GHz) and Bluetooth LE, but also a “60 GHz radar”. There’s no indication of what this is used for – the FCC tests just really focus on whether the radios meet the agency’s safety and performance standards – but it’s not an unknown component.
Google Soli, the short-range radar system, was first introduced in Pixel 4 last year. The Android smartphone used it for gesture recognition, with the sensor embedded above the display and used to track hand waves, navigate through music and adjust volume.
It never really started, at least not in the way Google probably hoped it would, and Soli wasn’t included in the Pixel 4a, which launched earlier this year. The tiny Soli sensor, designed to squeeze into a smartphone, was clearly meant for more than just a device. In fact, some of the benefits Google originally pointed out for solos arguably make more sense in a smart home setting.
In contrast to camera-based tracking systems, Soli should, for example, address data protection lawyers less. With the right power levels, it should also be able to see across rooms. alternatively, it could enable gesture control of a new thermostat with a shorter range. One way is that by waving the new thermostat you can remotely raise or lower the temperature or AC power settings without talking to Google Assistant or pulling out your phone.
Additionally or alternatively, Google could use the sensor to track movement and distinguish whether the house is occupied or empty. These details are used to adjust temperature levels accordingly and control settings for things like Nest security cameras. More details are yet to be confirmed, although we’ll likely hear more about Google’s new hardware shortly.