Google has a new Nest Thermostat for your assessment, and it̵
A quick story
It may be hard to remember, but Nest was not always a Google product. Nest Labs started life as a stand-alone company, founded by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. This company released the original and second generation Nest Learning Thermostat, along with Nest Protect smoke detectors.
But in 2014, Google bought the company and promised to let it continue independent of other Google divisions and keep all data separate. Little by little, that changed: the Nest division grew to cover other hardware such as smart cameras, speakers and monitors. It also joined Google’s hardware division.
Finally, Google announced that the Works with Nest program would end, and Works with Google Assistant would take place. To get new features and add new Nest products, Google requires you to convert your Nest account into a Google Account.
In May last year, Google modernized its Nest Aware subscription plans for Nest cameras. The new plans save money if you have more cameras, but offer less viewing history than the original Nest Aware subscriptions. Again, to join the new plans, you will need to convert your Nest account into a Google Account. If you do not have a Nest account, you can not create one. you must use a Google Account.
Two apps with duplicate functionality
It brings us up to speed. Today, Google has two primary apps for controlling smart home devices. The first is Google Home, which handles smart speakers and screens, and the third-party smart home integrations such as smart bulbs and plugs, and some Nest Thermostats.
The other is the Nest app, which controls Nest Thermostats, Nest cameras, such as Nest Hello and Nest indoors, and Nest Protect. Through Nest you can see your camera feeds, mute Nest Protect and of course adjust the Nest Thermostat settings.
But more and more, the two apps are duplicating capabilities. You can already control some Nest thermostats in both Google Home and the Nest app. The Nest app has options for home and away, and now Google Home has it too. And according to Google, Nest Protect will be coming to Google Home sometime in the “coming months.”
The Nest thermostat is the first nail in the coffin
None of this meant that the Nest app would of course disappear. But maintaining two apps with duplicate functionality requires extra resources. And the Nest app already required changes to support Google Accounts, something Google Home had from day one.
But the first nail in the coffin is the last Nest Thermostat. It works exclusively in the Google Home app; you can not pair it with the Nest app. Nest Thermostats was the hallmark of the Nest app. It is easy to see the writing on the wall; it’s only a matter of time before Google adds full integration for Nest cameras in the Google Home app, along with the promised addition of Nest protect.
“At that point, it would not be surprising if Google announced a new Nest camera that only works with Google Home.” As time goes on, avid Nest users who have Nest accounts will eventually have to convert. Old products are dying, and new features are too tempting. First comes account conversion, and then comes the switch to the Google Home app.
None of this bad, of course. I argue that controlling your entire smart home from one app is far more convenient than maintaining multiple apps with duplicate functionality. At this point, the Nest app does very little that Google Home does not, and the gap is approaching. And the Google Home app does a lot the Nest app never wants, like controlling smart bulbs.
But it’s still the beginning of the end for the original dream of Nest Labs, even though Nest itself has a bright future absorbed by Google.