In early February 2018, it was announced that Nest was officially merging with Google's hardware division after operating independently following the Alphabet restructuring in 2015. Now, at this year's Google I/O, we're starting to see the real effects of that decision.
Most notably, the "Works with Nest" program that highlighted smart home gadgets which work seamlessly with Nest devices is being killed off this summer. Works with Nest allowed devices like Philips Hue light bulbs to integrate directly with Nest products, and while the functionality of Works with Nest will live on with a new "Works with Google Assistant" program, it's a big change some smart home enthusiasts likely won't be very enthusiastic about.
Why the change? Google wants to double down with its focus on privacy and security. Data sharing between smart home devices and apps will still happen through the Assistant, but Google Vice President Rishi Chandra says it'll be under tight scrutiny.
Google's smart home devices will now live under the Google Nest name.
On a similar note, Google's also launching something this summer that'll allow you to merge your existing Nest account over your Google account. Your Nest products will still work the same, you'll just have one less account to worry about and get the added security features that Google has.
All of these changes come as Google quietly unveiled its new "Google Nest" branding on the Google Store.
It further reinforces the idea that Google wants Nest to be the epicenter for all of its smart home devices, and in terms of hardware, we just saw this with the new Nest Hub Max and rebranding of the Google Home Hub to Nest Hub. Furthermore, Chandra confirmed that the company's Google Home speakers will also get the rebrand treatment down the road — just not right now.
I personally liked the Google Home branding, but Google does seem awfully committed to the new Google Nest name. Plus, now Google can pretty much point people to Pixel for phones, tablets, and laptops and Nest for connected home devices.
The transition could be a bit bumpy with the new program and account migrations, but in the end, I think the changes being made here are for the better.
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