back to article OK, Google, please do a half-hearted U-turn: Stay of execution for smart home APIs after Big G goes cuckoo in the Nest

Google has backtracked somewhat on a plan to kill off the popular Works with Nest smart home program after customer fury. "We hear you," began the headline to a blog post by product director Michele Turner on Thursday morning, before noting that the ad giant "received a lot of questions" about its plan to retire the program …

  1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    FAIL

    I'll never buy anything that relies on "the cloud"

    I say "buy", but the companies seem to think their customers are just renting.

    Any product that is dependent on the whims of a third party - especially one related to home security - is not welcome here.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: I'll never buy anything that relies on "the cloud"

      Somebody in a major department store asked me if I was interested in a Nest or a Ring system. I said no thanks because the latter had a couple of security flaws and the former an undeclared microphone. Plus I don't want anything 'smart' in my house except my phone. He said that there wasn't anything to worry about with these systems. I laughed and walked away.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I'll never buy anything that relies on "the cloud"

        "He said that there wasn't anything to worry about with these systems."

        Many salespeople lie, often by wilful ignorance.

        1. mr.K

          Re: I'll never buy anything that relies on "the cloud"

          "Many salespeople lie, often by wilful ignorance."

          But not everybody, not the bad ones.

        2. Gonzo wizard
          Go

          "often by wilful ignorance"

          Often in full knowledge of the facts.

          There, fixed that for you.

  2. Detective Emil
    Happy

    Sitting on my hands …

    … and glad about it.

  3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Google!

    Curse your sudden, but inevitable, betrayal!

    1. Scott Wheeler
      Headmaster

      Re: Google!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    One thing that Google does really, really well is shutting down products.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      It's one of their Pluses

      1. Gonzo wizard
        Thumb Up

        I see...

        ...what you did there

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Isn't that how you run a successful company? If only Microsoft had the balls to cancel failing rubbish products like Xbox, TFS, Bing , MSN etc etc...

  5. DrBed

    So irrational hate.

    The whole point of this article is, barely mentioned, near the end: There are of course SOME :D useful elements to Google Assistant. It works as well, if not BETTER, than other voice activated digital services and it is relatively ubiquitous..

    What I can read here between those lines (and I am not one those nasty "googlers") is that author is adoring Amazon & Alexa. FYI: The truth is that Amazon is slurping as much as Chocolate Factorty, just their "assistant" sucks more. Almost nothing with Nest related here, unfortunately. Beside hate.

    FYI2: I bought 2nd hand old KIndle recently; crappy, overpriced, totally closed product (until I apply jailbreak). Alexa? Nothing "smart" from Amazon, please.

    1. Ian K
      Facepalm

      Re: So irrational hate.

      Leaving your drama queen tendancies aside, you're also factually incorrect; from the very first Kindle you've been able to plug them into computers via USB cables, copy non-DRMed .mobi files on and immediately start reading them. None of your l33t jailbreaking needed.

      Anything else you'd like to be wrong about?

      1. DrBed
        Facepalm

        Re: So irrational hate.

        Anything else you'd like to be wrong about? :D :D :D

        EPUB, dear.

        You arrogant "genius", you don't understand distinction between open and closed format.

        FYI: Kindle store uses mobi files and EVERY OTHER major ebook uses EPUBs. EPUB is open source, zipped HTML + CSS. MOBI is a binary blob, archaic format that I have used on my GBA (!) for ebooks. Since then, most of my lib is epub. It is XXI century and mobi does not support e.g. vector images (or proper cover). AZW3/KF8 bs is for those who don't care to be vendor locked-in.

        Beside: .PDF rendering / using of is quite poor at Kindle (if it is not already especially formatted exactly for your specific type of Kindle - it means plenty of zooming on/off). KOreader saves things a lot but - surprise, surprise: it is not allowed at (non-jailbreaked) Kindle.

        I don't have to mention lack of support for cbr / cbz (comic books formats) etc.

        I am talking about more classic e-ink models, not "Kindle Fire" (which is just crippled regular Android tablet) or new and even more overpriced models. Not interested at those.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    OK Google, what data have you got on me?

    150GB of stuff including data you thought never left your phone and data on you held by other corporations. The data you thought was deleted, shadow profiles, and other sundry information that we think you won't need to export isn't included.

    I don't think any rational person could be in favour of adding Nest to a Google account.

    (Link originally posted by fellow Commentard Hans 1.)

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: OK Google, what data have you got on me?

      And now I'll post the right link.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: OK Google, what data have you got on me?

        lol, you had me all confuddled for a while!

    2. Ragarath

      Re: OK Google, what data have you got on me?

      But they already have Nest under their umbrella, they own it. Do you really think that data is not cross referenced with your Google account information? If it isn't already, it will e now they've put the kibosh on the merger.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK Google, what data have you got on me?

      Fellow apple employee

  7. john.jones.name

    google login vs works with nest

    they are two things...

    frankly the nest login should die

    works with nest api is not fully served by google assistant (by design the nest api leaks private details like when the occupant is home and away useful for a thief)

    the problem is that COMPANIES who pay google bill's and have "account managers" complained...

    to assume that google cares and deals with feedback is very misinformed...

  8. Gonzo wizard
    Meh

    Nest - the only smarts in my home

    I'm probably a typical IT savvy Nest user. Bought what were high quality products that for me worked well and were reliable (one thermostat, one smoke alarm). Was apprehensive when they were swallowed by Google. Subsequently very disappointed to hear about their proposed killing of Works With Nest and subsuming of everything into the 'plex. Concerned about long term support for my perfectly serviceable hardware.

    IoT manufacturers have to learn to walk the tightrope better. If you want me to buy your product I need to be convinced, ahead of purchase, that:

    1. Your products are well built and fit for purpose

    2. You have a robust system for people to report security issues

    3. Your products will receive timely security patches

    4. You commit to supporting your products for at least five years after you stop selling them (firmware updates and any dependencies on your own centralised services)

    5. If your product requires a subscription to work, you will sell the hardware at cost

    6. You will collect the minimum of data required from me, my environment and the product itself for the product to function, and no more

    In an ideal world all these things companies are trying to flog would conform to open standards at the highest level of abstraction so that I'm not tied to any one vendor - and the firmware source, and tools for creating and uploading updates, would be open sourced when support ceased.

    Now that's never going to happen, which is why I never see myself buying into any one ecosystem. Or indeed buying anything else from any of the existing ecosystems. Nest for me has been a handy learn-by-experience which I don't regret, even if Works With Nest does disappear. I'd even consider replacing the hardware I've already got if/when it fails. Everything else I put into my house will be home-rolled with minimal to no dependencies on anything beyond my own local network.

    If geeks like me are cagy about IoT adoption you can guarantee that in the long term, so will everybody else. Change is needed.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Nest - the only smarts in my home

      Your list doesn't address the manufacturer being bought up though. I doubt anything would except a law legally ring-fencing data in these kinds of purchases, in which case there's probably little reason for manufacturers to get bought in the first place.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Nest - the only smarts in my home

      You commit to supporting your products for at least five years after ...

      That's not long enough. I've recently put up new smoke/CO/heat detectors (Aico linked stuff) in the flat - they have a lifetime of TEN years. Having shelled out £300 (including a couple of radio modules because there's a bit where I couldn't run a new cable to interlink them all), I don't want to be having to look at replacing them before that.

      When you consider the price of most of this stuff - eg, typically in excess of £60 each for radiator valves - then I expect to have a decent life out of it. When something gets obsoleted because the company gets bought out and the new parent wants to sell you new stuff, that can get very expensive, very quickly.

      There may be an argument for an escrow system whereby if the manufacturer disappears, or stops supporting the product, information sufficient for others to take over (eg open source, not vendor specific systems) have the information to integrate these devices.

      Things like this are why I've not invested AT ALL into "smart" home stuff - there's just too much risk in going down any road at the moment, they all offer scope for hitting a dead end sooner or later.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "just because Google wants more control."

    No, they are doing this because they got crucified by the press for security when it was actually idiot users reused compromised passwords.

    It's time El Reg sacked it's next idiot writer in its desperate attempt to regain credibility. AO first, KM next ???? Let's hope so

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "just because Google wants more control."

      What does a Google Account login have that stops password reuse that can't be fitted onto a Nest Account login or indeed any other login anywhere?

      Speaking of idiots, I'm not surprised you posted anonymously.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "just because Google wants more control."

        It doesn't, that's the irony here. This is purely driven by the bad press that nest got due to idiot users... If anyone has a beef with anyone about this, it should be the press and it's irresponsible rabid Google clickbait

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: "just because Google wants more control."

          You do know the reason Google has one account is so all the different services under the account can be data mined to target ads, right?

  10. tallenglish

    We hear you

    Basically means they aren't listening and only responded due to bad publicity.

  11. cipnt

    Still works with Nest

    Good article and glad there was pressure from media on this issue. Thankfully Google has reconsidered this.

    I own two Nest thermostats and two Nest smoke alarms which are tightly integrated with my SmartThings through the Works with Nest API.

    SmartThings has a superior presence sensor (electronic ZigBee keyfob) which is very fast and acurate, unlike Nest's Home/Away Assist.

    For this reason, and for consolidation, I prefer to do all things (rules, triggers) in SmartThings.

    Shutting down Works with Nest with such incredibly short notice would have rendered my thermostats "dumb". I would've probably switched to Tado or similar.

    At least they didn't schedule it mid winter when the thermostats are in full use.

    I still can't see how Works with Assistant is going to replace some of the WWN API. It needs a lot of work!

    1. Gonzo wizard

      Re: Still works with Nest

      It might not have been winter for you - but it would have been for some. Frankly the programme had been around too long, and used by too many other manufacturers, for Google to successfully kill it at such short notice.

  12. what-where-when

    My £20 thermostat and £10 TRV's have worked fine for 20 or so years and it doesn't matter what company they are from or if it is bought, sold or goes bankrupt - they will keep working fine. Having also had no need to change the settings on any of them in those 20 years, apart from some testing when the boiler broke, it amazes me that anyone thinks spending hundreds of pounds on this is in anyway cost effective or useful never mind the obvious security holes and data slurping they are adding to their life.

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