Google has been developing “smart home” products through its subsidiary Nest. In 2018, the company was fully absorbed into Google, and apparently Google is going to kill off the entire “Works With Nest” platform as part of the overhaul:
The second big thing to come out of the show is that Google is killing the “Works with Nest” platform. This was a smart home platform that would let the Nest thermostat act as a hub and coordinator for a lot of your other smart home products. A notice on the “Works with Nest” webpage reads, “Works with Nest is winding down.” Google’s smart home strategy will now revolve around only the “Works with Google Assistant” program, and Nest’s ecosystem will shut down in a bit over three months, on August 31, 2019.
I’m sure there are “Works with Nest” ecosystem users out there that bought products specifically because they “Worked with Nest.” When the service shuts down in August, it sounds like all of those (probably expensive) third-party smart home products will stop working with any Nest-based automation workflows. This mandatory feature removal situation is pretty much a smart home owner’s worst nightmare.
Nest-branded products will continue to work with each other, but since “Works with Nest” was a program that let other services talk to Nest, a lot of third-party integrations will be going away. The Verge has a good rundown of just how many services are going to break, and it’s a brutal who’s who of smart home products. Amazon Alexa, Philips Hue, IFTTT, Logitech Harmony, Lutron lights, August Home, and Wemo switches will all be affected.
“Works with Nest” users will be facing a broken smart home and will have to pick up the scraps of their smart home ecosystem and MacGyver together another solution out of the pieces. The somewhat good news is that most smart home products are compatible with multiple smart home ecosystems, so it should be rare for something to turn into a complete brick. You’ll just have to switch to a new ecosystem, go through a ton of setup, and be ready to deal with all the things that won’t work the same way they worked before. Theoretically ,some of these services could continue to talk to Nest by supporting the Google Assistant system instead.
The app situation is a mess right now, with both a “Google Home” app and a “Nest” app. The Nest app is for thermostats, cameras, the security system, smoke detectors, and any other old Nest products, while the smart speakers, Chromecast, and “Google Nest” smart displays use the Google Home app.
The Google Nest hardware rebranding muddies the app situation. People buying a newly branded Google Nest Hub or Google Nest Hub Max might be tempted to install the Nest app, but that would be wrong—these products need to be set up in the Google Home app. The Nest Hub Max smart display has a camera on top, and while this is a “Nest cam” that can record video to Nest’s security camera cloud system, the video feed is also viewable in the Google Home app.
What’s going on with Nest is part of the reason I am very reluctant to have anything to do with “smart” homes – companies like Google can create huge headaches for you at the push of a button. If you’re a tech enthusiast, I recommend reading the whole article, as it is fascinating reading.