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Google has issued a response to criticisms of its recent announcement to close the Works with Nest program, a set of connections and controls that link third-party smart home devices with Nest thermostats, cameras, and other products. The company had originally announced that the Works with Nest program would be shutting down on August 31st, 2019, and all existing connections will stop working on that date. Nest customers would have to migrate their accounts to Google accounts and use Google Assistant controls to rebuild their smart home connections and setups.
In a blog post published today, Michele Turner, director of product and smart home ecosystem for Google Nest, says that existing Works with Nest connections will continue to work beyond August 31st, and customers will be able to use those services and connections until they are replicated in the new Works with Google Assistant program. The company will not allow any new Works with Nest integrations after the August 31st shutdown. Once customers migrate their Nest accounts to Google accounts, their Works with Nest connections will cease functioning.
Additionally, Turner says the company is “working with Amazon to migrate the Nest skill that lets you control your Nest thermostat and view your Nest camera livestream via Amazon Alexa.” Google is also claiming that Google Assistant will support the ability to trigger routines based on Nest’s Home / Away status later this year.
Further, companies that are using the Works with Nest program for more extensive customizations than allowed by Google Assistant will be required to go through special security audits from Google and to allow more granular control over which devices have access to a customer’s Nest data and devices. Tellingly omitted from the blog post is any mention of IFTTT support, which is likely to remain one of the things that will no longer work once Works with Nest is fully closed down.
Google’s end goal is to have all of the Works with Nest functionality replicated in the new Works with Google Assistant program, which provides a more central point of control for customers and greater privacy protections than the Works with Nest program allowed. But the company runs the risk of walling off much of the rest of the smart home ecosystem from the Nest ecosystem, providing customers with fewer choices in their smart home setups than before. Today’s clarification and update on the transition is encouraging, but we’ll have to see how well Google executes on its plan. Otherwise, this transition could turn out to be a mess and a headache for many smart home owners.