In a move to streamline the connected home accessory lines of Alphabet Inc. sister companies Google and Nest, the new Google Nest brand has been hatched as an umbrella for all Google Home and Nest Labs products.
Announced at the 2019 Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, the move has resulted in the instant renaming of several current and new products. This includes the Google Home Hub display launched in late 2018, which has been renamed Nest Hub. And a new product that was expected to be released as Google Home Hub Max—a larger version of Google Home Hub with a built-in Nest camera—was renamed Nest Hub Max as it was announced.
Then There Was One
For anyone with both Google Home and Nest products in their home, the disparate nature of the two brands has been particularly apparent with respect to security and authentication, as the two companies have had entirely separate user account infrastructures.
With the advent of the new Google Nest brand, all current Nest accounts will ultimately migrate to Google Accounts, while all new consumers will exclusively use Google Accounts from day one. So, for example, a single Google account could be used for authentication with the Google Assistant app and as well as the Nest Hello video doorbell. Furthermore, the same account will work for other Google services, including Gmail, Google Photos, Google Maps, and Google Drive.
Works with Nest Program Winds Down
The other foot to drop with this coming together of Google and Nest under one moniker: All third-party device and service integrations will be consolidated under the Works with Google Assistant program. This comes as no surprise, as Nest was rolled under the Google hardware team in 2018 and this would be a natural evolution of that marriage.
What came as a bigger surprise was the statement from Google Nest that the ubiquitous Works with Nest integration program will be sunset on August 31, 2019. On that date, Google Nest says all Works with Nest integrations will stop working. We repeat: All Works with Nest integrations will stop working.
And it’s not simply a matter of current Works with Nest developers migrating their integrations as-is to the Works with Google Assistant program, as the new tools do not offer the same open API access as the Nest program. Rather, all integrations will be done through the Google Home app and Google Assistant, so it will be an entirely new game—with an obvious, predominant focus on voice control.
This could be quite problematic for homeowners that have built their connected homes around Nest products and multiple Works with Nest accessories. We will have to wait and see how major Works with Nest developers react to this new world.
Summer Arrival of Nest Hub Max, Nest Hub Price Drop
Google Nest says the new Nest Hub Max will have a 10-in. screen and arrive “later this summer.” It is expected to sell for $229 at launch in the U.S. The smaller Nest Hub—originally named Google Home Hub—has had a price drop from $149 to $129.