Google is letting its Nest customers down

Nest has been an incredibly popular brand in the smart home world in recent years, but since Google took over, the pillars that customers loved about Nest have slowly faded away. And while there’s still a lot to love about Nest in 2023, Google has let its customers down in some key ways.

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Looking back over the past two years, Google’s “refresh” of the Nest brand to “Google Nest” has caused a lot of trouble. It started with the highly anticipated new hardware pushed away from the Nest app that so many customers have come to love, only to offer half the features and functionality in the Google Home app. That’s been slowly rectified as Google has been working on revamping the Home app, including fixes for Nest cameras, but it’s still a mess. Users are still unable to create manual clips, there is still limited to no integration with legacy Nest products (e.g. Nest Protect), and this new experience is still limited to invite-only beta testers.

Hopefully that will change at Google I/O in the coming week.

And while Google deserves a lot of credit for keeping legacy Nest products up to date with services and just not abandoning them, as so many other brands may have done, the company has also done a poor job of discontinuing Products.

The Nest Secure security system released in 2017 will go offline later this year. Quitting a product and putting it into maintenance mode is one thing, but killing a fully functional device is worse. This is made even more difficult by the fact that Google doesn’t make a proper replacement. Rather, the company handed that over to a partnership with ADT. We spent some time with that new system this week, and the short version of that hands-on is that it basically forgets everything that made the Nest Secure so good.

Google has shown time and time again that it is trying to right its wrongs, but the clock is ticking.

Before the 2021 reboot, Nest had a smart home ecosystem that was years ahead of its time. Google has completely given up that edge to competitors, who now offer products that are in many cases comparable, if not better. Nest shouldn’t rest on its lead right now, but on what it can do better, and right now I’m really wondering what Google can do better than integrate with a smart display.

This week’s top stories

Pixel leaks continue

With just a few days left until I/O, Google’s upcoming Pixel products continue to leak.

This week, the Pixel 7a was officially teased, Google immediately showed the Pixel Fold and more information came out about the Pixel Tablet.

We also exclusively reported that the second-generation Pixel Watch will be released later this year.

Passkeys are now on your Google account

This week, somewhat unexpectedly, Google provided passkey support for Google accounts. This allows users to log in without a password by using their smartphone as a kind of security key.

Gmail gets a blue check mark and more ads

Google is working to combat spam in Gmail by adding a new authentication feature to emails from trusted senders. The new symbol, which – surprise surprise – is a blue tick, started rolling out this week. This week in particular, Gmail started showing more ads in many users’ inboxes.

Gmail blue check mark

The Google Home app is expanding support again

Google released a few major updates to the Home app this week, including a further expansion of device controls. Garage doors are now supported and Google expanded light control as well. A new “Inbox” tab has also been added for notifications, and a slightly tweaked UI seems to be rolling out to some users as well. It feels like we’re approaching some big announcements at I/O.

Google TV is getting a major update

A major update to Google TV rolled out this week, with a focus on improving performance across all devices by reducing “wait time” at device startup and improving remote control responsiveness. Devices based on Android TV 12 will also get a boost in available storage space, with app hibernation deleting apps that haven’t been used in the last 30 days.

Related: Mecool KM7 Plus gives Google TV some flexibility for a reasonable price

More top stories

What’s coming?

Of course it’s Google I/O 2023 next week. We’ve got all the latest news right here 9to5Google, so check back daily for everything you need to know. With that in mind, our newsletter will be a bit limited for the next week, with no new release on Tuesday. But we’ll be back for that 9to5Google Weekender to summarize I/O and more.

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