“Other hubs like SmartThings and Wink have had this for years, so it’s exciting to see Google add it, even if the functionality seems to be limited”
With the new Local Home SDK, devs can make use of the Google Home speakers’ and Nest Displays’ built-in radios (Bluetooth and WiFi, possibly also Thread where applicable) to communicate directly with their devices.
Local ZigBee / Z-Wave device control is not mentioned anywhere. A comparison to SmartThings is somewhat misguiding.
I think it’s legit because they are specifically talking about the Phillips hue bridge… Smartthings started with cloud to cloud for that integration, but did move that to Local control last year. Wink had a similar evolution, but a couple years earlier.
( Although I think smartthings is still cloud to cloud for LIFX, isn’t it? )
Anyway, the point is that with many Wi-Fi devices, there may be a choice between cloud to cloud or local LAN Integration.