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Perhaps you’ve heard the recent rumblings that Google is revamping its smart home line to exclusively include Nest products—and is rebranding under the name Google Nest. If not, here’s a brief rundown of what happened: Google made the big announcement on May 7, indicating that Google Nest would be eliminating the Works with Nest program that allows Nest products to be controlled by smart assistants like Amazon Alexa.
Since then, I’ve been wondering what exactly that means for how I’ll control my Nest products going forward. I have a Nest thermostat and several Nest outdoor cameras and I often use Amazon Alexa (and the Nest app) to control these smart home devices.
Other Nest users shared in my bewilderment, taking to Twitter to express their confusion about the merger. So, if you own a Nest product, here's what the news means for you (and me).
What is Google Nest?
It’s been five years since Google acquired Nest back in January 2014. However, Nest didn’t officially join Google’s hardware team until last year. And, it’s only recently that the two tech companies have made headlines together over the Google and Nest integration.
Per Nest, the goal of the new platform is to "make the smart home less complicated, and well, more helpful." Going forward, the Google Nest will be focusing on building up the Works with Google Assistant program.
The Nest products themselves aren’t changing, but, already, Nest products are being sold under the Google Nest brand. Google Nest still offers a variety of smart home products like the Google Nest Cam Outdoor, our favorite outdoor smart camera, and the much loved Google Nest Learning Thermostat. The products remain the same, but the way you control them will change.
Will my current smart home speaker still work with my Nest products?
The short answer is yes and no. At first, Google Nest announced that the Works with Nest program would be retiring altogether and that Nest products would only work with Google Assistant after Aug. 31, 2019. But after some users aired their frustrations, Google Nest took user comments to heart and made a few changes to the Works with Nest program. Just one week after the initial rebranding announcement, Google Nest provided further information:
"Your existing devices and integrations will continue working with your Nest Account, however, you won’t have access to new features that will be available with a Google Account. If we make changes to the existing WWN [Works with Nest] connections available to you with your Nest Account, we will make sure to keep you informed."
When is this all happening?
You will still be able to use third-party smart home devices like Amazon Alexa to control Nest products. But, you will need to make sure those new connections are set up by Aug. 31. After that deadline, only devices with Google Assistant, like the Google Home Mini or the Google Nest Hub will be compatible with Nest smart home products.
The full Google Nest integration will be rolled out to user accounts over the next couple of months, according to Nest. That means that the Nest app will still be available for now, but current users will receive email invitations to merge their current Nest accounts into one Google account. Once you migrate your account, your Nest smart home products will work with Google Home devices (and your Nest data will now be associated with Google, too).
To recap: The Works with Nest program isn’t going anywhere right now, however, that could change in the future. For now, make sure to integrate your current devices by Aug. 31 and you should be in the clear.