Google Home thinks my Switch is an Outlet

I have a GE Switch connected to my ST hub, named “Rear Floodlights”, which is in turn connected to Google Home. Despite the fact that it’s identfied as a “Z-Wave Switch” in the web interface, Google Home seems to think it’s an outlet. Note:

“OK Google, turn the Rear Floodlights off/on”: SUCCESSFUL
“OK Google, turn all the outlets off/on”: SUCCESSFUL
“OK Google, turn all outlets off/on”: SUCCESSFUL
“OK Google, turn all the switches off/on”: UNSUCCESSFUL
“OK Google, turn all switches off/on”: UNSUCCESSFUL

Additionally, the default icon in my Android Smartthings App for this switch is an outlet.

Any ideas as to why this is happening?

*SmartThings has no concept of an “outlet”.

Check out the Developer Docs / “Capabilities” section. There is “Switch” and “setLevel” (dimmer).

That’s all.

So Google has no way of knowing the difference.

In SmartThings you can change the icon for a Switch (i.e., the Outlet) to anything; including lamps and appliances.

I believe Google Home’s concept of what things are is based on how the object is named. You can give the object a nickname in to home app. You might try putting the name switch in there as a nickname and then see what happens.


I am curious regarding how Google Home knows whether to identify the device as a light, dimmer, outlet, etc. I have been playing around with it this afternoon. Does anyone know? For example, I am trying to get Google Home to see a device as a bulb instead of an outlet. I have tested with different capabilities with no luck (light vs switch relay vs switch). I have changed the “type” to “lighting” in my multitileattibute declaration. I even tried changing the icon to a philips hue icon (silly I know, but had to try). No matter what I do, Google Home wants to see this device as an outlet.

What information in a device handler does Google use to distinguish a difference between device types?

Here are a series of screenshots from mine. The only thing registering as a bulb are my ge link bulbs. Switch icons are dimmers, dimmable zwave bulbs, rheostats (where you can dictate percent) and motion-sensing switches, outlets are on/off switches only, while only one (front landscape lights) is actually an outlet. Temperature sensing devices all have “capability:thermostat.” My guess is that it’s somewhere in the “capability” profile.

I thought it would have to do with capability, but I can’t pin it down. It would be nice to have someone from the SmartThings staff to step in with a definitive answer.

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It took me hours of trial and error to finally find this out: To control an outlet, you need to use the word THE.

Background: We have two fans in our house. One is called “Bedroom Fan” and the other is called “Nikolai’s Fan”. For weeks, I couldn’t get Google Home to control Nikolai’s Fan. It just said, “I’m afraid that I can’t help you with that.” Amazon Echo had no problems. Then, after reading some tutorials, I noticed that the command for an outlet is, “Turn on the xxxxxxx.” The reason that one fan worked is because it’s natural to say, “Turn on THE bedroom fan,” or “Turn on Nikolai’s fan.” Since the second example doesn’t have the word THE, it doesn’t work. Again, this isn’t an issue with our Echos.

Very frustrating.

By posting this here, hopefully someone else will find the answer sooner than I did.

Google also doesn’t like apostrophes, FYI.

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Nhaley is correct, no possessives. Google Home can turn on the Nikola Fan but not Nokola’s Fan. I had the same problem with one of my nightstand lamps for exactly that reason.

For more natural language - “Nikolais fan” (although it may have trouble understanding the pronunciation of Nikolais).

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