The Google Nest connected home domain is undergoing a major shift, as the company is nudging current Nest Account holders to migrate to Google Accounts in light of their plan to fully integrate the Google Home and Nest brands into one cohesive ecosystem. The upshot of this activity is the imminent sidelining of the popular Works with Nest integration program, where the company will no longer accept new developer connections into the program effective August 31, 2019. As a result, smart product makers Big Ass Fans, Kasa Smart, and Lutron―among the many existing partners in the Works with Nest program―have recently advised their existing customers on how to navigate through the transition or issued app updates related to the transition.
Works with Nest (WWN) has long been a mainstay integration point for many major third-party developers and home product makers wanting to connect their wares to work in automations with Nest products. This integration spanned all Nest products, including the highly popular Nest learning thermostats a well as its cameras, security systems, smart doorbells, and smart locks. In many cases, customers have been relying on the Nest Home/Away integration, where third-party accessories can automatically be controlled to respond as a Nest product detects a person returning home or going away.
Third Parties at a Crossroads
Today, these third-party companies are at a crossroads where they need to balance supporting existing customers relying on WWN for automating their homes, versus redeveloping their offerings to cater to new Google Nest customers by embracing the Works with Google Assistant (WWGA) program. Their dilemmas here are due to current gaps in the WWGA program, where Google Nest has not yet developed hooks and APIs to replicate existing WWN functionality. And the response from major integration partners reveals a diversity in postures, with some electing to remove WWN connections entirely from their app, and others keeping WWN in place but warning customers not to migrate their Nest Accounts to Google Accounts.
Makers of the popular Haiku fan product line, Big Ass Fans warned their existing customers through an email on August 30, 2019. The company’s Haiku and Haiku L fans can include WWN integrations with the Nest Learning Thermostat.
From the Big Ass Fans email: “Effective August 31, Google is discontinuing its Works with Nest program and will no longer support Big Ass Fans’ direct integration with Nest devices. New Nest users will be required to use a Google account that will not support fan integration; customers who integrated their devices previously will be prompted to migrate their Nest accounts to Google accounts. If you wish to continue using your Nest account to control your Haiku, do NOT make this switch, as migrating to a Google account will remove the integration and cannot be reversed.”
Big Ass Fans went on to describe where things stand with Google Nest, including uncertainty about future functionality: “As Google develops its Works with Google Assistant platform, it may reincorporate Nest functionality at a later time. In the meantime, your Haiku’s built-in SenseME™ technology still offers a wide range of features and automated functionality. Read more about these features here.”
Similarly, lighting systems maker Lutron, manufacturer of the Caséta Wireless, RA2 Select, RadioRA 2, and HomeWorks lines of in-wall dimmers, smart fan controls, and smart shades, emailed its customers on August 26, 2019.
From the Lutron email: “Google has recently started inviting Nest customers to switch their Nest accounts to Google accounts. If you use a Lutron app to work with or control Nest products and you wish to keep doing so, DO NOT CONVERT YOUR NEST ACCOUNT TO A GOOGLE ACCOUNT. So, if you wish to continue using features like controlling your Nest thermostat from the Lutron app or having your lights set to come on when your Nest smoke alarm goes off, do not convert your Nest account to a Google account.”
Lutron Caséta Wireless Dimmer Kit with Smart Bridge
Lurton offered still more insight into where they are currently with WWN and where they see things headed with the Google Nest transition. Per the Lutron email: “Google is removing the ability for other smart home brands, including Lutron, to work directly with Nest devices. They are unifying their smart home experience under a single platform, Works with Google Assistant. According to Google, they will build Nest functionality into the Google Assistant over time, but we don’t know when or if they will replicate everything Lutron can currently do with Nest. Lutron will continue to work with Google during this transition and will provide you with updates to ensure the best Lutron experience for your smart home.”
Kasa Smart, a subsidiary of electronics firm TP-Link and maker of the Kasa line of smart lighting, security cameras, smart plugs, and wall switches, has taken a decidedly light-switch approach to the Nest Account to Google Account migration. The company released version 2.15 of the Kasa Smart app on August 26, 2019, and in this release removed all WWN functionality from their app.
In the “What’s New” section of the Kasa Smart app updater, the company stated: “We’ve removed support for Works with Nest as Google is ending support of the program in August.”
So, Kasa Smart product owners will lose their WWN connections as soon as the 2.15 app update is applied. And while this may be a developmental coincidence, Kasa Smart introduced integration with the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem in the version 2.15 release.
We Recommend Proceeding Carefully
As we wrote in our last update on the Google Nest Migration, current users of WWN should not be in a hurry to migrate. In fact, we recommend most users hold off on migrating their Nest Account to a Google Account until at least the end of 2019. By that time, we are expecting to see more clarity from Google Nest on how they plan to replace lost WWN functionality. Until then, many WWN connections will remain in place, as long as you have not migrated your Nest account to Google. But as we predicted, more and more developers are dropping WWN features altogether in their apps as the transition kicks in.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.