Google considered a new Nest thermostat for you that is cheaper and easier to install than ever before. But there̵
A short piece of history
It might be hard to remember, but Nest wasn’t always a Google product. Nest Labs was founded as a standalone company founded by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. The company launched the original second generation Nest learning thermostat along with the Nest Protect smoke detector.
In 2014, Google bought the company and promised to operate it independently from other Google departments and to keep all data separate. Little by little, that changed: the Nest department grew to cover other hardware such as smart cameras, speakers and displays. It also joined the Google hardware department.
Finally, Google announced that it would end the “Work with Nest” program and replace it with “Work with the Google Assistant”. To get new features and add new Nest products, you’ll need to convert your Nest Account to a Google Account.
Last May, Google revamped its Nest Aware subscription plans for Nest cameras. The new plans save you money when you have multiple cameras but have less viewing history than the original Nest Aware subscriptions. If you’re ready to join the new plans, you’ll need to convert your Nest account to a Google Account again. If you don’t have a Nest account, you won’t be able to create an account. You need to use a Google account.
Two apps with double functionality
That brings us up to date. Today, Google has two main apps for controlling smart home devices. The first is Google Home, which manages smart speakers and displays, as well as third-party smart home integrations like smart lights and plugs, as well as some Nest thermostats.
The second is the Nest app, which controls Nest thermostats, Nest cameras like Nest Hello and Nest Indoor, and Nest Protect. From Nest you can view your camera feeds, mute Nest Protect and of course adjust your Nest thermostat settings.
But the two apps are increasingly duplicating. You can already control some Nest thermostats in Google Home and the Nest app. The Nest app has Home and Away options, now with Google Home. And according to Google, Nest Protect will hit Google Home sometime in the “coming months”.
The nest thermostat is the first nail in the coffin
None of that, of course, meant the Nest app would go away. However, maintaining two apps with dual functionality requires additional resources. The Nest app already required changes to support Google Accounts. Google Home had this from day one.
But the first nail in the coffin is the newest Nest thermostat. It only works in the Google Home app. You can’t pair it with the Nest app. Nest thermostats were the hallmark of the Nest app. The writing on the wall is easy to see. It’s only a matter of time before Google adds full integration of Nest cameras into the Google Home app as well as the promised Nest Protect extension.
“At this point in time, it’s no surprise when Google announces a new Nest camera that only works with Google Home.” Over time, avid Nest users who have had Nest accounts may need to convert. Old products are dying and new features are too tempting. Account conversion takes place first and then the switch to the Google Home app.
None of that bad, of course. I claim that controlling your entire smart home from one app is far more convenient than managing multiple apps with double functionality. At this point, the Nest app is doing very little that Google Home doesn’t and the void is closing. And the Google Home app does a lot the Nest app will never do, like controlling your smart bulbs.
But it’s still the beginning of the end for Nest Labs’ original dream, even if Nest itself has a bright future that will be absorbed by Google.