Brillo and Weave: Google's New Tools to Build Out the IoT

The computing giant announced it is entering the IoT platform fray with Brillo, an operating system for connected devices with a small computing footprint, as well as a common language designed specifically to connect devices to the Internet of Things.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
May 28, 2015

At Google I/O, the company's annual developer conference, held today, Google senior VP Sundar Pichai introduced Brillo, which he billed as an operating system for the Internet of Things, as well as Weave, a common language through which devices can connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Thread (an IPv6-based wireless network protocol).

"By taking physical devices and connecting them, in a smart way, to the Internet, we think we can transform experiences for users," Pichai told attendees during the I/O keynote address, by way of introducing the much-anticipated Brillo. "We want to connect more devices—from parking meters to washing machines to airport kiosks."

Google senior VP Sundar Pichai at Google I/O
Brillo is derived from the Android operating system, Pichai said, but is optimized to run on devices with a small computing footprint, such as an Internet-connected door lock or a light bulb. Google, however, is targeting Brillo to other sectors besides the smart-home market.

"You can imagine a farmer controlling [connected devices on] her farm from her mobile phone," Pichai explained. Cities could use Brillo to connect sensors to provide visibility into the movement of busses or trains that are part of its public transit system, or to understand the movements and chokepoints of traffic.

Brillo, which Pichai said would be available to developers beginning in the third quarter of this year, consists of a kernel, for managing input and output commands to the device, as well as a hardware abstraction layer, which will make the operating system function in a common way across disparate hardware devices. The hardware abstraction layer then connects to the wireless networking protocol—such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Thread—that the device uses to access a gateway or the Internet.

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