back to article Google Nest server outage leaves US, European smart homes acting dumb

Nest is down - again. A widespread outage means that smart home customers are unable to login to their accounts, use their smartphones to view video livefeeds, adjust thermostat controls, or interact with any of Nest’s product range. Users in North America and Northern Europe have been hit the hardest. nest Bad news for some …

  1. spr97ajm

    Since Google took over, the Nest iOS app seems to get worse with every update. The video playback freezes and I have to restart the app. The current build has a corrupted U/I element (The button that changes the view from a timeline to a list of events). I refuse to move to a Google login because I will lose access to the Apple TV app, which I actually find quite useful.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Crap app

      Same thing happened to Ring, which used to have excellent response times but is now significantly slower with app problems

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Crap app

        Fitbit's screwed up too.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's what you get for trusting Google.

    or any cloud service to run your home.

    All that lovely data being slurped. Who goes in, who goes out. When you do stuff. when you are out.

    Have you informed your home contents insurer of the google invasion?

    None on this IOT crapware is coming into my home if it needs to phone home in order to work.

    Big Brother was supposed to be fiction and not a handnook on spying and mass control of the citizens.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: That's what you get for trusting Google.

      My folks just recently bought Linksys velop mesh wifi because it was recommended by "Which?"*. I was obviously tasked with setting it up and discovered that Linksys are very keen on you using their app. Sadly to use this you need to sign up and get a Linksys cloud account. Now I balked at this because Linksys don't have a very good reputation in this area. https://www.theregister.com/2020/04/15/linksys_wifi_password_reset_malware_app/

      So I hunted around on the net and then spoke to their tech support live chat. I asked what you were supposed to do if you didn't have a smartphone or the wifi was going to be closed circuit. The live chat person was actually very helpful and explained how to set it up if you don't have a smartphone or object to a cloud account. It isn't obvious though and is akin to finding a shortcut on a video game.

      * To be fair to "Which?" they recommended the system before that hack but after you needed a cloud account.

      1. Medical Cynic

        Re: That's what you get for trusting Google.

        Do tell us the answer please.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: That's what you get for trusting Google.

      "or any cloud service to run your home."

      Bare in mind that the vast majority of Nest customers where hijacked by Google buying Nest. Nest were relatively responsible with their customers and data.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The article reads like a list of reasons not to buy a Nest.

    Thanks for saving me

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Cloud dependency

      I told this to many people before, that even local controls like thermostat adjustments go through the cloud and, if down, you lose local adjustments. Some people listened, other people didn't care.

      In the case of the thermostats, go with the base Honeywell 6500-series, as they retain full local functionality if the Wi-Fi cloud is down.

  4. vtcodger Silver badge

    There are Some Use Cases

    There would seem to be some valid use cases for many IOT type devices. Remote viewing of security cameras, adjusting thermostats in areas that are intermittently occupied, limiting access to people who have legitimate current access needs etc, etc, etc. But in many situations, it is unlikely that there will be enough users to justify mass production. So it's likely that much of this connected trash will be designed in ways that maximize profits rather than actual user needs like security, reliabilty and such. Cheap, but annoying and maybe even dangerous. In a lot of cases, I suspect users will be better off sticking to old fashioned manual devices.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: There are Some Use Cases

      "Remote viewing of security cameras"

      I've had that at home, for cheap, since the CROMEMCO Cyclops came out in 1975.

      "adjusting thermostats in areas that are intermittently occupied"

      My greenhouse's "smart thermostat" has been running for over a third of a century. It maintains the temperature to within 2 degrees either way quite nicely. I can set it from anywhere I have Internet access.

      "limiting access to people who have legitimate current access needs"

      Realestate agents (and others) do this with little lockboxes for the actual key. Change the code for the lock boxes to suit, and Bob's your Auntie.

      Remind me again why any of these solutions need to go through goophabet servers?

      1. Tomato42

        Re: There are Some Use Cases

        My greenhouse's "smart thermostat" has been running for over a third of a century. It maintains the temperature to within 2 degrees either way quite nicely. I can set it from anywhere I have Internet access.

        ah, but if you can't do something with an app you can't do it at all! /s

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: There are Some Use Cases

        "Realestate agents (and others) do this with little lockboxes for the actual key. Change the code for the lock boxes to suit, and Bob's your Auntie."

        May I introduce you to the Lock Picking Lawyer...

        Those lockboxes are an ideal way to grant everyone access to your property, not so much a way to grant authorised users.

        1. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: There are Some Use Cases

          What makes you think the actual door is any more secure? If someone with the proper motivation and skills wants to get into your home, they can do so. Consumer-grade security consists of making it difficult enough to require a dedicated effort to do so - you can still be burgled, but a random person walking past can't just wander into your house on a whim. Having a lockbox with a key inside does nothing to change that. It's still enough of a block to put off casual, spur of the moment efforts, and unless you think there is a significant pool of potential burglars able to break into a lockbox but unable to think of any other way to get in your house, it does nothing to make you less secure.

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: There are Some Use Cases

            > What makes you think the actual door is any more secure? If someone with the proper motivation and skills wants to get into your home, they can do so

            True, but the point is the difference in skills needed.

            You've spent out on a decent multi-point door (expensive, not impenetrable, but certainly a challenge), along with semi-decent windows, but then put the key in a lockbox that someone with a hammer and a screwdriver can open?

            Sure, without the lockbox, they could stand there visibly fiddling with doors/windows to get in, but that comes with the risk of exposure. A quick knock on the lockbox might take a couple of seconds, and then for any passer by their just the homeowner letting themselves in through the front door.

            Home security isn't about being impenetrable, it's just about being hard enough that they move onto lower-hanging fruit. Putting a lockbox on your wall makes you the lower hanging fruit (and need we say it, putting a "smart" lockbox on the wall highlights you've both a lack in judgement, and likely lots of expensive but useless gadgets to nick).

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: There are Some Use Cases

              You've spent out on a decent multi-point door (expensive, not impenetrable, but certainly a challenge), along with semi-decent windows, but then put the key in a lockbox that someone with a hammer and a screwdriver can open?

              I'm dubious. How many households actually fit these criteria? (And what constitutes a "semi-decent window" in this attack scenario?)

              And what's the intersection between people capable of, interested in, and willing to defeat a lockbox, but not otherwise able to gain access to the house?

              This whole anti-lockbox argument strikes me as defending against a very thin branch of the attack tree, under any plausible threat model.

          2. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: There are Some Use Cases

            On the basis that most of these boxes are trivially openned with a small shim to pull the locking bar against the mechanism (and that's those where you can't just look past the wheels and see the gates)

            If your house is secured with a masterlock then it might be as bad, but most houses have cylinder locks that at least resist bypass and comb attacks.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: There are Some Use Cases

        "Remind me again why any of these solutions need to go through goophabet servers?"

        That would be the average users who want "plug'n'pray", don't have a home server or fixed IP addy and aren't prepared to pay for kit that has or needs a home server as part of the kit. Likewise they probably don't have have any kind of LAN firewall at home other than what may or may not be part of the ISP provided router/modem and definitely don't want to follow more than a few simple instructions to configure it. Sadly, that's most people As for goophabet servers, that's the risk, even if you buy from a large, well known brand who might actually be trustworthy. AlphaGoog could still buy them out and stuff you.

  5. EmilPer.
    Facepalm

    so sad

    ... so sad to see Google becoming stupid before becoming evil ...

  6. jake Silver badge

    And presumably the IQ of the US goes up a trifle ...

    ... as a couple thousand people freeze to death in the dark.

  7. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "The Cloud" is highly overrated

    "all eggs" "one basket"

    yeah, THAT'll work well, right? Look at how much we save in baskets!!!

    nevermind if multiple servers are involved, it STILL b0rked and went TITSUP for a while...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The Cloud" is highly overrated

      OMG I'm agreeing with Michael Heseltine, Piers Morgan, Ben Shapiro and Bombastic Bob these days. I need a lie down.

  8. Anonymous Coward
  9. Torchy

    Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

    Seems that the cuckoo has shit in the nest.

    I stopped the wife from buying a Peleton bike for the same reason, no server contact = expensive bike that goes nowhere.

    1. Stumpy

      Re: Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

      To be fair, it's a static exercise bike, so even with server contact, it's still an expensive bike that goes nowhere...

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

      Even with server contact it's still an expensive bike that goes nowhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

        If it's like my wife's exercise bike - it will be an expensive coat rack

        1. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

          Let's hope Mrs Coward doesn't see this, Noel.

  10. terry 1

    lifespan

    I try and avoid any IoT device because at some point in the future the maker will shut the server off. At the moment I do have a smart switch, it controls the outside lights at the front and has been very good, comes on at dusk, off at 23:00 and I can turn them on via the app if im late home, but I also know that one day it will stop functioning.

    Built in obsolescence, ~5 years then computer says no

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: lifespan

      Just curious, but you do know you can get outdoor lights with a timer, and a motion sensor and then the light will come on when you walk up to the house, no need to fondle with your phone in the dark...

      And no obsolescence planning required...

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: lifespan

        I bought two solar powered motion detection security lights which are great. They come on if I or anyone else approach the house. They've got a wide field of PIR functionality and light. Best of all they came from Lidl, so were dirt cheap but have lasted several years.

      2. terry 1

        Re: lifespan

        It wasn't initially brought for that purpose, it was to remote hard restart some client equipment which eventually was replaced. Too good to chuck out.

        I did have a timer and a dusk sensor but the wife drew the line at sensors so it now sits in the garage running a run of led down lighters.

  11. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Space

    One hopes NASA won't be employing ex-Nest IT people to work on their Space projects

    1. PM.

      Re: Space

      Boeing on the other hand ...

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Space

        Talking of which, the 737 Max has just been cleared to fly again in the US

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54981658

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Space

          I wonder if any other countries will blindly accept the FAA certification instead of insisting on a full re-certification before allowing then in their airspace?

  12. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    On the bright side...

    IoT has revealed vast, hitherto untapped reserves of schadenfreude.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The poster child of the smart home increasingly looks like a washed-up child star heading to rehab."

    More Oliver Twist to googles Fagin

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021