The Home Assistant Beginner’s Guide Part 3: Integrating Home Assistant with the Google Assistant/Google Home

Let’s clear up a few misconceptions: When talking about Google Home (GH) I mean the hardware, the physical speaker that sits in your home, and Google Assistant (GA) is the software that runs on top of that hardware. Many, including Google, use the two synonymously. However this integration will not just connect your smart speaker with Home Assistant. The Google Assistant runs on just about anything and it’s reach is increasing with almost daily. Anything from your phone to watches to security cameras and washing machines run the Google Assistant. It’s just that Google Home was the first device that brought Google Assistant into our homes.

Be warned before you start this guide: This is by far the most complex thing we’ve done so far. There’s a fair bit of coding involved and we’ll be working with more than one different tool. With that said, I’ll try to explain things in the simplest way possible. After all, this is a Beginner’s Guide!

What will be done and what to expect

In this guide we’ll be going through the steps on how to integrate your Home Assistant with the Google Assistant (and thus your Google Home). By the end of this guide you’ll be able to ask your Google Assistant to turn the lights on with a specific colour and manage most of your devices that have been added to your Home Assistant.

Requirements

There are two main requirements for the Google Assistant and Home Assistant:

  • The obvious one: You need a smartphone that is compatible with the Google. This can be an iOS or Android device. You do not need a Google Home device for this integration to work, it just makes things more convenient.
  • The less obvious, but soon will become apparent, one: Your Home Assistant has to open to the internet. You can find out how to do that in my Beginner’s Guide Part 2.
  • This has already been pointed out in the first Beginner’s Guide but I’ll mention it again: Using an advanced text editor, such as Sublime Text will make editing files so much easier.
  • This guide was written for Windows users. I don’t have any Apple devices and as such couldn’t test any of the steps.

gactions CLI

Downloading the gactions CLI

First up, you’re going to want to download the gactions CLI. This is the command line interface used to test and update your integration. Download the correct version for your OS (in most cases this will be x86_64) and copy the file into a new and empty folder. In the same folder create a text file and rename it project.json (make sure you have File name extensions in explorer enabled, otherwise you will end up with a file called project.json.txt). Open the file with Sublime Text. Update and copy the following code into it (use the URL you previously created with Duck DNS):

{
  "actions": [{
    "name": "actions.devices",
    "deviceControl": {
    },
    "fulfillment": {
      "conversationName": "automation"
    }
  }],
  "conversations": {
    "automation":
    {
      "name": "automation",
      "url": "https://[YOUR HOME ASSISTANT URL]/api/google_assistant"
    }
  }
}

Actions on Google

Go to the Actions on Google developer console and create a new project. Enter a suitable project name (I went for Home Assistant, how imaginative) and your country. Click on create project. You’ll be greeted with a new window containing many complicated sounding words. Don’t worry, I don’t understand any of it either. We’re only interested in the Actions SDK. Click on Build. Copy the code ($ gactions update…) and paste it into an empty notepad, we’re going to need that.

In the notepad, replace PACKAGE_NAME with project.json and replace the $ with ./ if you’re running Windows. This is what you’re code should look like on a windows machine:

./gactions update --action_package project.json --PROJECT_NAME

Open the folder we created for the gactions CLI in the File Explorer, hold down shift and right-click anywhere inside the folder. You should see Open PowerShell window here in the right-click menu somewhere. Click on that. Copy and paste the code from your notepad and paste it into the PowerShell window using CRTL+V. Hit the Enter/Return key on your keyboard to run the code.

Opening PowerShell from a folder

After running the code you will be prompted to visit a URL. Copy and paste that URL into a browser and allow Assistant CLI to view and manage your Actions on Google. You will receive a long string of code in return for the permission. Copy that code and paste it into the PowerShell window. After a short time a message containing a URL will be returned. Copy the URL in the message.

Open the copied URL in a browser and fill in the required App information. Once again, it isn’t really important what you add but I always like to keep it relevant. Once Google is happy with the information you’ve given, click save. Don’t worry about entering private information, this Action will never be publicly released.

 

Click on the back arrow and select Account linking. Click Edit. Fill in information (has to be added but isn’t important). Click on Add in the following prompt. Select the following:

Grant type: Implicit

For the Client ID we’re going to create a long, randomly generated and secure string. Use something like the Random Password Generator for this and make sure to select the maximum length. Save this string in a notepad, we’re going to need it later (I recommend you add the description Client ID too)! The Authorization URL is your Home Assistant URL with ]/api/google_assistant/auth added to it:

https://YOUR_HOME_ASSISTANT_URL.duckdns.org/api/google_assistant/auth

Adding the Home Assistant URL to Actions on Google

Add two scopes: One being name, the other one email. Following that, enter some random gibberish in the testing instructions and click save.

Adding scopes to Actions on Google

Finally, with all the information entered, click on TEST DRAFT.

Testing the draft Action on Google

With everything sorted out, click on the settings cog in the top-left corner and open the Project settings. Here you’ll find your Project ID. Copy it into your notepad (again, give it a description).

Getting the Project ID

Homegraph API

This is an optional step but is highly recommended. The Homegraph API will allow you to ask your Google Assistant to “sync my devices”. That command will sync your Home Assistant devices with the Google Assistant each time you add a new one or change an existing one. To enable the Homegraph API, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Google Cloud Platform.
  2. Select your project and click on ENABLE.
  3. Once enabled click on MANAGE and select Credentials in the left hand menu. Click on Create credentials and select API key.
  4. A new API key will appear in the list. Copy this key into your notepad.

Home Assistant configuration

Keep your notepad handy and open up the configuration.yaml. You’re going to have to create yet another random string for your access_token. Add and edit the following code with your data:

google_assistant:
  project_id: ACTIONS_ON_GOOGLE_PROJECT_NAME
  client_id: CLIENT_ID_CREATED_DURING_SETUP
  access_token: RANDOM_STRING
  agent_user_id: EMAIL_ENTERED_DURING_SETUP
  api_key: HOMEGRAPH_API_KEY_CREATED_DURING_SETUP
  exposed_domains:
    - switch
    - light
    - group

Restart your Home Assistant from the Web UI and wait for it to restart.

Google Home app

Open the Google Home app on your smartphone and navigate to Home control (you’ll find it in the menu). Click on the big + button to add new devices (in this case the home assistant). The project we have just created will located at the very top of the list and will prefixed by [test]. Add the device and all of your devices set up in Home Assistant will show up!

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