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Image credit: GE

The first Made-for-Google lightbulbs don't require a hub

GE's lighting only needs a Home speaker for voice control.
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To date, using Google Assistant to control your lighting away from your phone has typically meant shopping for both a smart speaker and bulbs with a hub serving as a go-between, such as Philips' Hue line. You won't have to spend quite so much cash going forward, because GE has unveiled the first Made-for-Google lightbulbs, and they don't require a hub at all. It's updating its C by GE lineup to automatically pair with any Google Home speaker through Bluetooth and show up in the Home app, making Assistant control almost as simple as screwing in the lights.

You can still use Assistant on your phone, of course, and existing C by GE owners don't have to replace their illumination. Every bulb should have support by October 22nd. This is more about providing value to newcomers to smart lights who don't want the expense or complexity of a hub.

You'll see that reflected in the pricing. While you can buy ordinary C-Life (everyday use) and C-Sleep (night-oriented) two-packs for $25 and $35, respectively, the real allure is a new Smart Light Starter Kit that will include both a Google Home Mini and a single, pre-paired C-Life bulb for $55 when it launches on October 22nd. The $10 discount over a separate purchase isn't that steep, but you're also getting a kit where voice control is enabled out of the box.

As for other Made-for-Google bulbs? Those haven't been mentioned as of this writing, but we wouldn't be shocked to see more. Google Assistant doesn't have the strongest smart home support in the market (roughly 10,000 devices versus 20,000 for Alexa), and the official badging could both provide a degree of certainty and remind shoppers that its compatibility is expanding at a rapid pace.

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