from the you-don't-own-what-you-buy dept
Three years ago, Google jumped into the home security market. After a troubled development cycle it launched Nest Secure, a $500 home security system that competes with the likes of Abode and Simplisafe. But things didn’t go quite as planned. Last year, the company took some deserved heat for failing to mention the system’s “Nest Guard” keypad control base included a hidden microphone, creating ample paranoia among owners. Google also took heat for failing to really deploy updates at the same pace that other Nest products had seen, and for making changes that locked you into the Google ecosystem at the cost of interoperability.
Last week the company quietly told Android Police it would be killing the Nest Secure completely. The company didn’t really explain why, or what happens next, only to state that the product will still work. For now. Of course when Ars Technica pressed the company as to how long existing users can expect their expensive security service to get support, the company apparently couldn’t be bothered to answer:
“We tried asking Google about all this a few days ago when we got a tip that the Nest Secure was listed as “no longer available” (thanks, Bill!) but the company wouldn’t answer. Included in our email were questions about what the future looks like for existing Nest Secure users, like if they’ll ever be able to buy more sensors or replacement sensors for their existing setups (these have been out of stock for a while now) or how much longer the Nest Secure will be supported for. Even if Google doesn’t immediately turn off the software support, a system with no replacement parts can only die a slow death.”
So not just murky answers, but no answers at all.
Hyping products and entire ecosystems, then destroying them with a casual wave without transparent communications isn’t a great way to develop consumer trust. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s part and parcel for a hardware industry that routinely bricks or stops supporting hardware and ecosystems you just got done shelling out hundreds to thousands of dollars for. That’s especially true in home automation and security, where users have to shell out an arm and a leg for various household sensors that in many instances won’t work with any other systems due to companies that view interoperability as a threat to walled gardens.
In this case, users have invested upwards of thousands of dollars for a home security ecosystem with an uncertain support future. And despite the fact that Google may be cooking up a new system with its partners at ADT, when it inevitably comes time to replace these expensive systems, or invest hundreds to thousands of dollars in a new ecosystem (be it Stadia game streaming or anything else), the message being sent is that you can’t trust Google to stick around and truly support the ecosystems their marketing department just got done claiming you couldn’t live without.