- Nest announced the availability of the $US229 Nest Hello video doorbell and the $US249 Nest x Yale smart lock, as well as a remote temperature sensor for the Nest Learning Thermostat.
- The new Nest products launch just weeks after Amazon announced it had purchased video doorbell maker Ring for about $US1 billion. Amazon also will no longer sell devices from Nest.
- Nest itself was recently reabsorbed into Google.
- While a smart-home war with Amazon is definitely on the horizon, Nest tells Business Insider that it’s committed to openness and cross-device compatibility, and hopes Amazon feels the same way.
A smart-home war between Amazon and Google is brewing.
Just weeks after Google announced that it would reabsorb Nest after years of independent operation, Amazon snatched up video doorbell maker Ring for a reported $US1 billion. And that’s not to mention the fact that Amazon won’t be selling any of Nest’s products.
Now, Nest is gearing up to fire back: On Thursday, Nest announced that the previously-announced Nest Hello video doorbell ($US229) and Nest x Yale smart door lock ($US249) are now both available for sale – plus, a $US39 temperature sensor for the company’s flagship Nest Learning Thermostat.
The products themselves play into the combined Google-Nest ecosystem.
For instance, if you use the Nest app to open the new Nest x Yale lock, it can automatically disarm the Nest Secure home security system. Or, you can use the Google Home smart speaker to cue up the Nest Hello doorbell video feed to play on a TV with a Google Chromecast. Indeed, a recent software update turns the Nest Cam IQ Indoor camera into a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker – with the limitation that it can’t play music, only answer questions and control other smart-home gear.
It’s that ecosystem, as well as its Google-powered artificial intelligence, that Nest sees as making all the difference, says Maxime Veron, Nest’s director of product marketing, a 6-year veteran of the company.
“We don’t expect consumers to buy it all at once,” says Veron. But every Nest or Google device you buy makes all of the other ones better, he says. And with today’s news, Nest now offers everything from cameras to door locks to security systems to thermostats and smoke detectors – a breadth unmatched by most competitors, let alone Amazon, he says.
On the subject of Amazon, Veron calls the company’s purchase of Ring “interesting,” with many details left to be revealed – including whether Amazon plans to maintain Ring’s current compatibility with the Google Assistant platform.
For its part, though, Nest prides itself on playing nicely with others, says Veron. You can use an app for the Google Home speaker to control a Ring camera, and you can use an Amazon Echo app to control the Nest thermostat. Veron doesn’t see any reason for that to change, no matter what the relationship between the two companies is like.
“Nest is very open to openness,” says Veron. “We have no plan to disrupt that at this point.”
He likens it to how Nest maintains an app for both iPhone and Android. If a customer wants to use an Amazon Echo to control their Nest gadgetry, that’s their choice. He does say, however, that Google Assistant is Nest’s “platform of choice right now.”
Still, now that the company has been reabsorbed into Google after years as an Alphabet subsidiary, there are some questions that Nest will have to answer for itself.
For instance: For the last several years, Nest has been cultivating a “Works With Nest” smart-home ecosystem of products that all integrate with one another. However, Google has its own, fast-growing – but separate – ecosystem around Google Assistant. Even Nest isn’t yet clear if there’s any point in keeping both going.
“Is it best for a company to have two different initiatives, or just one?” asks Veron.
He says that it’s still something they’re thinking about. Similarly, there hasn’t been a decision over whether Nest will maintain a separate smartphone app, or just integrate directly into the Google Home app, where Google Assistant users control their home devices.
Ultimately, though, Veron believes that Nest and Google will benefit from the reunification. Google brings facial recognition and other artificial-intelligence smarts to the table; Nest has extensive experience in building devices and providing services. Together, he says, they can step up the integrations of their products, and go beyond.
“We’re actually talking now about how to benefit from each other’s strengths,” says Veron.
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