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Google could start certifying third-party accessories for Pixel phones

Google could start certifying third-party accessories for Pixel phones

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Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

We’re two days out from Google’s Pixel event, and 9to5Google has a report on a new initiative that could get announced there: a certification program for third-party accessories. It’ll apparently be called “Made for Google.”

There aren’t any other details at this point, but 9to5Google says the announcement should come “soon.” Whether that’s on Wednesday or sometime later this year, though, is unclear.

Google will want to make it easy for third parties to get certified

To get an idea for what the program could work like, it makes sense to look to Apple’s MFi (Made For iPhone/iPad/iPod) program. Third parties want that certification because it lets them put a badge on their box that says their product is approved by Apple, which lets customers buy it without concern. And Apple wants the certification because it can guarantee a level of quality on those products and often lets it make money off of them, too. Apple requires that third parties use official chips and connectors, which only Apple sells, netting it some profit on every device that includes one.

It’s not clear if Google would go quite that far — it tends to be more open, for one, and it doesn’t have nearly the sway over accessories companies that Apple does. There are millions and millions of iPhones out there, and companies will jump through whatever hoops are needed in order to sell accessories for them. But Google doesn’t have a huge hardware install base, so it’d presumably want to make it easy for companies to make, for example, Pixel phone accessories, so that there’ll be plenty of options for buyers to look at.

There are a number of things Google could offer a certification program for, too: its Pixel phones are the obvious starting place, but Google also sells VR headsets, speakers, and Chromebooks, all of which could use accessories. Google could also start certifying speakers and headphones that includes its voice assistant. A few have already started coming out.