Skip to main content

Google is ending its Works with Nest system. Here’s what that means for you

A series of announcements at the Google I/O 2019 conference will utterly change how the company approaches smart device platforms. This is especially important for the “Works with Nest” program — which is being shut down.

Does that mean that your non-Google smart devices will lose compatibility with Nest devices? Yes, it does. But the issue is also more complicated than that. Let’s talk about this big Google change, why the company is taking such a risk with consumers, and what it means for your own smart home.

Nest is undergoing a big change


Google purchased Nest in early January of 2014 (for a cool $3.2 billion), but the company is only now pushing Nest as its primary smart home platform. We’re not sure what will happen with all Google Home devices, but the “Google Home” brand is going to officially be the “Google Nest” brand going forward, and future Google smart devices will probably be relabeled under the Nest title.

We’ve already seen this in action: Google announced a new smart display along with the news, similar to the Google Home Hub, but this one is called the Nest Hub Max. When referring to the Google Home Hub, the announcers only referred to it as the “Nest Hub.” So yes, there are new names to get used to.

“Works with Nest” is officially dead on August 31, 2019

Hawk's Nest
Anice Hoachlander/Wiedemann Architects

Works with Nest was a program that connected Nest devices with other smart home platforms so that they could all work together. For example, if you had a Nest thermostat, you could connect it to an Echo device from Amazon, and use Alexa voice commands to control your thermostat. Google had hundreds of these compatibility connections with various platforms, allowing Nest products to work in homes with complex smart device environments.

That will all come to an end when Works with Nest fully shuts down by August 31. Some smart companies may sever their Nest compatibility before then just to save time. This is likely to lead to a lot of customer disappointment, and it will be interesting to see how Google deals with that.

A lot of device connections won’t work anymore

Best IFTT Recipes
Alexander Kirch/Getty Images

Come August, those with Nest devices may find that they can’t be controlled anymore, and that creating connections or smart “scenes” aren’t possible. In fact, if you aren’t specifically using the Nest app to control your device, it’s not going to work (at least not like it once did). You can take a look at all the current devices in the program and bid them farewell, while checking to see if you’re affected. Some of the more popular platforms (there are around 3,500 brands in the program) that will no longer work with Nest products include:

  • The customizable IFTTT platform
  • Amazon’s Alexa, and any devices enabled with Alexa
  • The convergence platform Control4
  • Simplisafe security
  • Logitech Harmony devices
  • Philips Hue Devices
  • Lutron devices
  • Samsung SmartThings and any other platform with open source Nest configurations

The replacement program is called Works with Google Assistant

smart assistant
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Now that most of the bad news is out of the way, let’s look at what Google’s doing about it. Works with Nest will be replaced by a program called Works with Google Assistant (which has existed previously, but now takes on a much larger role). As the name indicates, this program will admit devices that will be able to work with Google Assistant voice commands, presumably via devices like the new Nest Hub Max and Google’s rebranded smart home controllers. Google Assistant is also available on many smartphones, a number of third-party smart displays (like Lenovo’s smart display), and other devices, which should also support this new and different compatibility.

Works with Google Assistant
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Don’t expect all your old platforms to make the jump to Works with Google Assistant, however. Google VP of Nest Rishi Chandra made it clear that the new program would be very restrictive, and Google would only hand out limited authorizations after careful scrutiny. Some platforms, including Control4, have announced they have already applied for certification. For others, notably Alexa, it’s unlikely Google will again grant compatibility to rivals. Their relationship is probably finished.

Google is doing this in the name of privacy

Google Home Mini Image used with permission by copyright holder

So why all the changes? It comes down to brand recognition and data privacy. Google may be a household name when it comes to internet searches, but it’s not the sort of recognition you want with a smart device — where the name can imply that the device may be watching and collecting data on you, as some Google Home devices were indeed found to be doing by mistake. Nest, meanwhile, is a trusted name. People like Nest devices. So the rebrand makes sense from a business perspective.

Ending the Nest program also helps Google emphasize a focus on privacy. Works with Nest required a whole lot of data to pass to other platforms, essentially out of Google’s control. With current concerns about spying smart devices and past failings in this area, Google decided that was no longer worth the risk. With the new framework, data will be much more tightly controlled by Google and essentially stay under Google’s protection while you use your smart device.

The cost of that change is very high, and limits the usefulness of Nest products. But fans of Google Assistant, without many current smart devices, may be happy to join a smart platform where privacy is more of a guarantee.

Editors' Recommendations

Tyler Lacoma
Former Digital Trends Contributor
If it can be streamed, voice-activated, made better with an app, or beaten by mashing buttons, Tyler's into it. When he's not…
Google partners with ADT to launch new smart home security system
Google and ADT collaboration.

Google has partnered with ADT to bring its lineup of smart home gadgets to a new DIY home security system -- ADT Self Setup. The unique package allows you to choose from a variety of Google devices to add to your home, all of which offer full support for the new ADT+ smartphone app.

The goal of the collaboration is to offer the customer service and security of ADT with the premium products developed by Google. The ADT Self Setup system can be modified to include the Nest Cam, Nest Thermostat, Nest Mini, Nest Hub Max, Nest Doorbell, and several first-party ADT products like the ADT Motion Sensor and ADT Smart Home Hub.

Read more
Sonos One vs. Google Nest Audio: which is the best smart speaker?
The Google Nest Audio speaker on a table.

The Sonos One and Google Nest Audio are two of the best smart speakers of 2023. Both can pump out impressive sound, respond to a wide variety of voice commands, and easily sync up with the rest of your smart home. But with the Sonos One costing more than $200 and the Google Nest Audio clocking in at just $100, you might be wondering if the Sonos One is truly worth your money -- or if you’d be better off saving $100 and opting for the cheaper Google product.

Before picking up either smart speaker, here’s a closer look at the Sonos One and Google Nest Audio.
Pricing and availability

Read more
Google rolls out Matter support for Nest and Android
The Nest Hub Max on a table.

Google has officially wrapped up its first wave of Matter updates by bringing the interoperability feature to Nest and Android devices. If you own products in these lineups, you’ll now be able to quickly connect them to other Matter-enabled products.

The rollout happened quietly throughout December, with the original Google Home speaker, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub (1st Gen), Nest Hub (2nd Gen), Nest Hub Max, and the Nest Wi-Fi Pro all receiving the update. You’ll also benefit from Fast Pair on Android, allowing you to quickly sync Matter devices to your home network. All updates happened automatically (so long as you’re running the latest firmware).

Read more