Google's Nest is officially in competition with Apple HomeKit

Not that this is any sort of surprise, but Google has finally announced a developer program for the Nest division. The timing couldn't be much better since I just finished writing about why I'm looking forward to the primary mobile players, Apple and Google, integrating "Internet of Things" hooks into their respective operating systems.

"Works with Nest" is a set of APIs that manufacturers of light bulbs, cars, laundry machines, or whatever else you can think of, will be able to integrate with products built by Google. But watch the 4 minute YouTube video on the Nest developers homepage and you'll notice Google's branding is absent. That's probably a smart thing. Perhaps the general public has privacy concerns, and by keeping the Nest brand separate from the Google brand, this can be avoided to some degree. Let's face it … those of us reading Connectedly, iMore, Android Central and other tech websites are in the minority. Most buyers don't know Google owns Nest.

Right now everything seems to centre around the Nest thermostat. But I have a feeling this will change. There are going to be people who want to take advantage of products that "work with Nest" yet they do not own a Nest.

It seems to me like the Nest thermostat acts like some sort of gateway for the home. I see no reason why this gateway can't just exist within any Android device, or as a firmware update to a router, or even as a cloud service that connects devices through cellular and Wi-Fi. Long term there may not be any requirement for a stand-alone thermostat in the home.

On a separate note, but still related to this topic, I can't help but feel Amazon is going to have a hard time competing here. They're on the cusp of launching a phone running a forked version of Android with no Google services. They're building some of their own replacement services such as voice recognition and maps powered by Nokia HERE. But the next 5-10 years is all about connecting other devices to the mobile ecosystem, and I'm not sure how Amazon will compete. And if they don't compete then I have to wonder if they will be at just as big of a disadvantage as BlackBerry was in the app store game.

What do you think, folks? Are Google and Apple just pushing too far ahead for anyone else to catch up?

Chris Umiastowski
  • FIRST! But seriously, folks. This is super exciting. I can't wait to see what Google does for home automation. I can't help but think that Apple is at a serious disadvantage with requiring everything to stay in their closed system. Especially when most of their hardware is set at premium prices. When it comes to things like this, cheaper devices will win. Especially when it comes to purchasing these items through big box stores like Home Depot/Lowes. I also have a hard time imagining most manufacturers are going to be excited about paying (probably) high licensing fees to use Apple's APIs and advertise "works with homeKit (or whatever the official trademarked tagline will be)" , when Google's will probably be a lot less or free/open sourced. I could be wrong. But I think Google is going to wipe the floor with Apple when it comes to future innovation. While Google is buying up satellite companies, robotics companies, and looking to partner with Space X, Apple will be making some arguably nice speakers with their new Beats acquisition.
  • Apple can't keep up with the expansion that Google is currently going through. That said, Apple has always been fantastic at keeping secrets, so it's best not to count them out until all the cards have been played. Posted via Android Central App
  • Fanboyism at its finest folks. Posted via Android Central App
  • Trolling at it's finest folks.
  • Ha +1 Posted via Android Central App
  • Full disclosure here, since Trolly McTroll thinks I'm being a fanboy. I own two macs, but I use Google services, and I have an android phone. I also own both Apple and Google stock, so I don't have any desire to see either one fail.
  • Some people think that if you express an opinion that implies that one company has a better strategy than another, then you must be "a raging fanboy". Ignore those people. Your comment was logical and well presented.
  • Reasonable comment at its finest folks. Posted within a PC from a guy who owns a Lumia, an LG G2, an iPad, and works for IBM.
  • 1984. Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 5
  • Lol Posted via Android Central App
  • Let's see now. Are there any more markets left that Google is NOT in direct competition with Apple for? Posted via Android Central App
  • Search. Sent from my Nexus 5 :-D
  • The home and the car needs standards. Period. I think Apple getting into this space could be the worst thing to happen to home and auto automation in the 21st century. If Apple has demonstrated one thing, it's that they like to plan API's that are not extensible and are centric to the goals of Apple, Inc. without any regard to and with full exclusion of any 3rd party vendors... unless they sign over their souls and agree to play only Apple's game. Amazon is going in a similar direction. However what I do like about Amazon's approach (not that I plan to buy any of their products) is that they seem to be focusing on the customer experience in a way Google hasn't really figured out yet. And they're doing it while removing the pretentiousness that seems to follow Apple hardware. Will it be enough? Who knows. I think Amazon will survive, but I don't think they'll ever be more than a large niche player. Larger than Google for media, controlling their own vast ecosystem, but not really setting the rules. I don't know what Google has planned for the home. My hope is that they'll follow a similar trend as they did with Google Talk (before they switched to Hangouts) and base it on an open standard. There are so many competing standards for the home and something clearly needs to be established. But I don't want to have to buy special Apple adapters for everything to work "just so". Now, if Apple made the components themselves, that'd be different. Then they'd never short or burn out... and it they did it would be because you obviously bought a chinese knock-off ;-)
  • And MicroSoft? They are directly competing with Apple AND Google on every front and surpassing them on others... I expect a Honeywell, MicroSoft announcement soon on the thermostat front and they are ahead of both of them on the in-home front with PC's and XBox... This is a 3-way race guys. Just not with Amazon... yet....
  • No, it's really not :-) The connected home needs connections. People have android phones and tablets, people have iPhones and iPads, and people also increasing have Fire stuff from amazon. Everyone I know personally whose bought a Microsoft product recently has either returned it or badmouthed it pretty bad. Microsoft can make all the partnerships it wants but unless someone is willing to buy the controller hardware (ie... the tablets/phones), it doesn't make any difference whom they're working with. Microsoft just doesn't have the juice to stay in the race. Microsoft used to own the business desktop class in a major way. They never really had the mobile market and completely missed the tablet market. The only real multi-platform end-user strategy they have is with Microsoft Office. They are the king there. And no, I'm not forgetting that they have server and developer products too, but we're talking about the end user here. I wish them luck, but I have little hope for them.
  • +1
  • You forgot the XBox which is a great home entertainment system. And more of one then Sony and Nintendo have. They also have apps on Android that "connect" to the XBox. Adding a thermostat that talks to the XBox and/or PC's is a valid way into the house. Even without their phones and tablets. Just sayin... I don't think they're out yet, and they are definitely ahead of Amazon in this.
  • So tell me why the PS4 is absolutely BLOWING AWAY the XBox One in sales?
  • Because it was cheaper. And blowing away is a touch overstating it.
  • Doubling XBox One sales isn't blowing it away? LOL!
  • Nope. A margin of 3 to 1 this early in the game could be considered as blowing it away. However, this early in the cycle the numbers mean little, and the Xbox price reduction to match the ps4 could easily shift things. Posted via my tricked out Moto X.
  • A. PS4 vs XBox wasn't the point....
    B. your article compares Sony numbers up to March 2014 vs Xbox 2013 numbers only....
    C. another perspective on the XBox vs PS4 war;
    D. Again, none of this was my point. Xbox is in Millions of Home (many millions more if you count the 360). PC's are in hundreds of millions of homes. Microsoft needs to do some work, but it has the resources to do it. I'm just saying that if MicroSoft wants into the game, and it does, it can make the moves to easily out pace Amazon. But it has to do it soon.
  • Agreed. Interesting article you linked to.
  • I didn't forget the XBox (ok, maybe I did, but there's a reason). So you're saying that everyone who wants to control their home and ISN'T a gamer is gonna go out and get an XBox to control do the deed with Microsoft products? Or is it more likely that they'll get solutions that will work with the stuff that's already in their pockets? Come on, you can do better.
  • I didn't say XBox, I said MicroSoft. They are in the home already. PC's, XBox and Phones (yes they lag behind Android and Apple, in phones, but they still have a presence). It would be a huge selling point to be able to say "XBox, set temp to 74 degrees" or "XBox turn out lights" and Phone presence doesn't even really matter since any successful home system is going to have to be "cross platform" and have an app on all the majors. So if you take phones and tablets out of the equation, who is already in the home?
  • Micro-who? Posted via Android Central App
  • I don't think that the comment about returning or bad mouthing microsoft products is valid. Majority of PCs are running windows, a microsoft product in addition to office, a microsoft product. The surfacce pro 3 is also getting outstanding suggestions from what I hear along with convertible PCs. Cortana is also going to be very dangerous to Google Now and Siri when it gets out of beta especially if they integrate it with PCs and not just phones.
  • You work for Microsoft. Done. Posted via Android Central App
  • I bought windows 8 for my gaming rig and I've never regretted it.
  • Wooooohoo. Home and stuff. n5