When it comes to Google and Nest, it’s been a relationship fraught with breakups and reconciliations. Now Google is fully ready to embrace Nest, moving all its smart home products under the name Google Nest. The announcement came from Rick Osterloh, the company’s senior vice president of hardware, at the Google I/O 2019 keynote. Osterloh also debuted the Nest Hub Max and said the Google Home Hub smart display will be rebranded as the Google Nest Hub.
The rebranding was a rapid-fire announcement, but it wasn’t exactly a surprise. After Google acquired the company in 2014 for $3.2 billion, Nest operated as a separate Alphabet entity for years. In 2018, Nest joined Google’s hardware team, so this renaming seems to harken back to that announcement from over a year ago.
What does the change mean for you? You can still call your Google Home by its name; not every old product is getting a rebrand — not yet, at least. But this summer, you’ll also be prompted to merge your Nest account with your Google account (though it’s not mandatory). Instead of signing into your Nest app with your Nest account credentials, you’ll be able to use your Google account information. First-time Nest buyers will simply use their Google accounts from the get-go.
The Works With Nest program will end on August 31, in favor of the Works With Google Assistant program. The change reflects a greater emphasis on privacy and security, according to a Google Nest blog about the rebranding. But it will certainly cause headaches for smart-home owners with “If This, Then That” setups. “It will break IFTTT,” Google vice president Rishi Chandra told Variety.
It’s been a rough year for Nest when it comes to security. In addition to a few hacking incidents with its cameras, the company came under scrutiny when it surprised Nest Guard owners by announcing the hub supported Google Assistant. The Guard is part of the Nest Secure system, and prior to the Google Assistant news, no one knew the device had a microphone.
In addition to all the updates — both good and bad — Google is dropping the price on some of its hubs, including the original Home Hub/new Nest Hub, which dropped from $149 to $129.
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