This story was originally published and last updated .
Our homes are increasingly filled with gadgets that connect to the internet in ways that rightly have us concerned for our privacy and security. But when discussing those concerns, it's important to keep a level head and consider just what kind of privacy and security concerns actually stem from using these products, and in what instances they might actually enhance both for you in real, tangible ways. And like surveillance cameras, we think smart locks fall into such a category: they can actually make your home safer and more secure than a traditional, "dumb" lock, and they do it all while bringing a tremendous amount of convenience.
When it comes to home security, peace of mind and convenience are what matter to me, making a smart lock pretty damn appealing. We know that homes generally aren't targeted by burglars for a lack of obstacles, but for an abundance of opportunity (like an unlocked door!), and a smart door lock leaves one less thing to chance when you're away on vacation or at the office. All the locks in the world probably aren't going to stop someone truly determined to break into your home - so unless you're barring your windows and using solid exterior doors (and most US homes aren't), I don't think the physical security argument has many legs to stand on.
August's door locks have been supported on Google Assistant (and thus Home) for a long time, but you had to voice your request as, "Ok Google, ask August to lock the door." That Actions on Google / Assistant Apps integration had a few drawbacks like being dependent on Voice Match and talking back to you in a different voice (you can read about its limitations in our ultimate Google Home guide). But about a month ago, we noticed that the August Home was showing up as a direct service under Home control, which meant that you didn't need to ask or tell or talk to August anymore, and it wasn't voice-dependent either (again, you can check the distinction between this and Assistant apps in our previously linked guide).
"A smart lock?! No, I'll never trust the security of my home to anything smart!" That was my thought until I sat down and considered the potential benefits: unlocking remotely for someone you trust (children who get home early from school, or visiting relatives waiting for you while you're stuck in traffic) or in case of emergency (fire, water leak), locking remotely if you forgot to or think you may have forgotten, checking the log of activity and being notified in case of suspicious unlocks, and the mere fact of using your keys less means you're less likely to lose or misplace them.
There are a few smart home device types that your Google Assistant/Home can control natively. Lights, plugs and switches, and thermostats were some of the first, but recently we've seen the addition of dryers, washers, dishwashers, vacuums, fridges, and even scenes. However, one type of device I've been personally waiting for are smart locks. Up until now, all smart locks were, uhm, locked into using the Assistant apps for integration, and not the native smart home capability. So users of August locks had to "ask August to lock the door," and those with Vivint had to "ask Vivint if the door is locked," for example.
For the past year or so, I've been looking at smart locks and wanting one yet not able to fully commit to anything. Living in Lebanon means our doors don't have the American-style deadbolts, but what is known as the Euro Style/Profile Double Cylinder - a lock that is quite prominent across France, Germany, the UK, and other countries. So August, Yale, Schlage, Kwikset, and plenty of brands geared toward the US market were mostly out of the question unless I wanted to take a risk and get something that doesn't fit at all with my apartment's door.