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Google Is Turning Off the Works-with-Nest API (nest.com)
936 points by cek on May 7, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 569 comments

> I’m a Works with Nest developer. Will I be able to access and control Nest devices moving forward?

> No. The Actions on Google Smart Home platform does not provide open API access to Nest devices, so it cannot be used to access and control Nest devices. Instead, managing and controlling Google Home, Nest, and thousands of third-party smart home devices is done through the Google Home app and the Google Assistant.

Wow, just wow. The entire non-Google Nest ecosystem evaporates overnight.

Yup, they just did a Twitter.

I lived through the Twitter ecosystem collapse and now I'm a VC I worry about investing in startups that are built on any large ecosystem where there isn't an alignment of clear economic interest.

Google of all people doing this just made it tougher for everyone else to maintain confidence in large vendor platforms.

Here's a note, straight from quotes file, I took around the original Twitter fiasco, and have since reposted or mentioned on HN a few times on occasions similar to this:

* Sovereign from Mass Effect on using someone else's technology:

"Your civilization is based on the technology of the mass relays, our technology. By using it, your society develops along the paths we desire. We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution. You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it." Strangely, it seems to describe recent (2012/2013) situation with API of Twitter perfectly.


Twitter did that twice[0] already, but it's a lesson people have to learn and relearn repeatedly: this is what happens when you build a business entirely around someone else's platform.


[0] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10427530

Between this and the infamous hacker group called "The Shadow Brokers" I think it's time someone did a study on the influence of Mass Effect on tech culture.

Not me, though - I'm in the middle of some calibrations right now.

Damn you, EA, I liked Mass Effect 1 so much.

Yeah it's a shame they never made any more after the third one.

[Spoiler alert, Hyperion series] That sounds totally lifted from the Hyperion series, but maybe the idea is earlier than that, does anyone have a proposed source for that idea that's earlier than 1989?

Dune (which was based on the concept of a hydraulic empire)

"The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it." - Frank Herbert, Dune

The writers were big Sci-Fi fans. The Asari were heavily influenced by the Minbari of Babylon 5. There are lots of other callouts to classic Sci-Fi in the series.

The bones of the setting and plot, the tone, plus lots of details, are so heavily borrowed from B5 that it's practically a kind of remix.

Not complaining, though, since [heresy incoming] they seem to have said "what if we took B5's setting but tweaked it to make it better" and then did it.

That ending tho. Unforgivable.

I will always be mad about the ME3 ending. If reincarnation is something that happens, my reincarnated self will be mad about the ME3 ending from birth.

What a godamn waste.

As someone who never played the games but has a rough idea of story and characters, what was wrong with the ending(s)?

The endings didn't take into account any of the choices you'd made up until that point. The endings were also a bit brief before the ending patch. I think those were people's biggest complaints, I could be misremembering.

Highly recommend the trilogy! Great story, amazing characters, pretty great gameplay (especially after #1), and overall an immersive journey. I wasn't bothered at all by the ending, personally.

The Reapers definitely fill a similar role as the Hegemony's TechnoCore, but the idea is so general: bigger, smarter entities leverage their natural advantage over smoller, dumber ones (who are sympathetic and protagonistic and somehow win love powers the universe shh it's ok).

Slightly different if you play renegade :)

[light spoilers]

In Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey", the alient Monoliths influenced human evolution and later decided to terminate the human race instead.

In Fredrick Pohl's Heechee series, humans stumble upon abandoned alien technology and use it without understanding how it works.

> but it's a lesson people have to learn and relearn repeatedly

Money now (gambling investors?), worry later.

If you build on someone else's platform, the best case is you get to be a sharecropper and can make money as long as you don't make so much that your platform-betters get jealous.

The more typical case is this, where you get to spend your time and money doing real-world R&D and discovery of what works for them, for free.

If you're going to dance with a vampire, don't be surprised when it bites you.

One way or the other aren't most of us building for someone else's platform anyway?. Mobile, desktop, browser...

You can build alongside someone else's long-term demonstrated strategy (developing Microsoft desktop software) much more securely than developing a feature in someone else's closed garden.

You can also spread your footprint. As just an easy-to-discuss example, Facebook and Twitter develop for many different someone else's platforms, by supporting multiple browsers [who in turn support multiple OSs], multiple mobile platforms, etc.

Developing Microsoft desktop software you're still building on someone else's platform and hoping they don't decide to alter the terms of the deal. Microsoft may be more forward thinking than Google, but companies change.

Absolutely. That risk is much lower than developing for the Alexa, Nest, Twitter, etc platforms. At some point, you’re forced to build on someone else’s platform(s), even if that platform is “Intel” or “AWS” as no one is doing the entire end-to-end value chain.

Or build on an open an open source stack. Don't like Intel? Switch to AMD. Don't like AWS? Switch to another cloud.

Proprietary platforms lure developers to their stack by making development easy. Learning an open source is typically more difficult, but the reward is greater freedom. Believing you're forced to build on proprietary technology is a fallacy.

This is the kind of thinking that leads startups to build their own autoscaling for their pre revenue CRUD app. Trying to roll your own cloud infrastructure will kill you far quicker than AWS shutting down your service.

And you will always be relying on someone else's proprietary tech - whether it's laptops or power stations or cloud infra. The trick is deciding then to outsource and when to build your own.

Open source only works as a business, when one can get money with some kind of subscription service, or selling hardware.

There are a number of business models that are compatible with open source. But the question here isn't whether to open source your own software or not. The issue is whether it's a good idea to build on somebody else's proprietary stack.

It's in the long term interest of any business not to rely on the goodwill of some other business. This goes for Microsoft as much as for Google, Apple, Amazon, etc.

Agreed. What's funny is that people now think Microsoft is this warm and fuzzy thing. They used to be far worse than they are today. For example, Microsoft Excel is nothing less than Microsoft's successful attempt to destroy Lotus 1-2-3. If the owner of the platform thinks you're getting too big for your britches, you can bet they'll try to take your revenue.

A difference is that Microsoft (currently) can't render your install base useless. If Microsoft drops Windows (or core Windows APIs) your existing users can stil use your software. With Google or Twitter shutting down "cloud"/web APIs all is gone.

People seem to have forgotten that Microsoft's unofficial motto is "Where do we want you to go today?" They've made an empire out of cutting off competition by changing their ecosystem.

Microsoft is all about cloud and web now. Clients are supposed to be web browser (asp.net) or mobile (xamarin), and they plan to add java, objc and swift interop to better target android and ios.

Websites should not be tied to a specific browser. But, if you mean plugins’s then sure that’s a huge risk.

Mobile and desktop both have more risks than the web, but they also have vastly more dependency on their ecosystems.

One could say that while some have a platform strategy, others merely have an aggregator strategy


Which is why we have organizations that fight hard to try to keep those as open as possible.

> If you build on someone else's platform,

But isn't that the height of specialization? What does a platform mean anyways if its only used for one thing and not by others?

It it somewhat unfortunate that things like this make it abundantly clear that such a reality is not possible.

Platform is nothing but a sales&marketing word. It means whatever the owner wants it to.

Google positions angular as a platform.

It is possible. We just have to prioritize open standards much more than we have been doing in the last decade.

History really repeats itself in this regard. First we get ourselves in a tight situation with lots of closed platforms, which is bad for everyone. Then someone comes along, spouting a new philosophy of openness (Stallman comes to mind). The philosophy takes hold and open technology flourishes for a while.

But then a huge corporation appears, offering to contribute to this new abundant ecosystem with great new things. By now, people are too relaxed and optimistic, so they readily accept this. Yet, little by little, the corporation exploits this, seizing more and more control, until we get right back where we started.

It's worse than Twitter. Twitter made a strategic decision (correct or not) that applied across their entire business. Google are making this decision and calculating or hoping that it's in isolation from the rest of their business. That really doesn't seem to be the case.

For the rest of their business' life, Google APIs will be met with skepticism about their long-term prospects. That sucks, because it doesn't seem good for anyone. Not good for Google. Not good for their customers. Not good for 3rd party developers.

Per many comments left on HN, the people that this does benefit are the PMs. It seems that a well-worn path to promotion at google is to launch products. Hence, the reason we have umpteen chat apps. Once the promotion occurs, it seems, the product is all but forgotten, having served it's purpose: a raise.

The divocring of incentives at google are at fault. The PMs aren't incentivied to do what is best for google, as it conflict with what is best for the PMs' families, college funds, mortgages, and health care. Hence, they do what is best for them at the expense of google.

I've already held that opinion of Google products for some time after seeing what a ghost town Sites and Docs are, and the shutdowns of Reader, G+, Wave, etc. At best it seems that you can count on a product silently losing support for years as a hint that you should migrate.

Well, the good news is that Google is kind of outing itself as a true outlier in that space. They clearly do not care at all about hurting developers that build on their platforms and there is enough daylight between them and other large tech companies on this that you probably don't need to extrapolate from Google to the entire tech world.

Makes me sad to say it as someone who has often defended Google in the past, but I can't on this.

Google and Amazon are ruthlessly strangling tech startups and smaller mom & pop shops that latch on to something and see a big spike in sales. They have all the data on these companies already, and people are just waiting to jump in and takeover or destroy a company completely regardless of industry or location. They just borg cube consume any success and very few people make any money in this process. This is happening every day, multiple times per day.

That's a way bigger problem than relying on an API or building some app in garden.

Do you have sources to cite on this?

No one should have expected Google to maintain focus on anything.

Microsoft: embrace extend extinguish

Google: Hold my Kombucha!

> Yup, they just did a Twitter.

You misspelled Sauron.

One app to rule them all, One app to find them, One app to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

I would worry about ANY company that is completely reliant on any other one company. You should never get in that situation.

Reading thru it, it is not as brutal as it sounds, more that the they merged it into the Google Assistant API, removing direct access permission to the NEST device (remember microphone-gate with NEST) and consolidating those permissions into Assistant.

Whilst they are killing it off, they have a transition.

However, as far as timelines go - August 2019 kill off date for the NEST API is brutal and not exactly the grace period users of connected devices/software will appreciate or in many a cases with tech designed for non-technical people - know nothing until suddenly in August find what was working yesterday is now not working.

Be interesting to get the perspective of the Assistant API for NEST interaction over the current NEST API. Any functionality that is now no-longer an option and show-stopper? Any improvements?

Still, they could of done what they did with Map's and monerterised the API. Not that there is nothing stopping them doing that with the Assistant API. Which with some businesses has become the norm.

Maybe API's need some sort of Long Term Support flavours, least be much fairer for any transitions taken down the line.

I've posted here a few times, but from what I can see at this point, these things (which I use on a daily basis and are the major reasons why I went with Nest):

* Can't get Nest camera or Nest doorbell video or images programmatically (without asking a google home device directly). This was the main reason why I sold my Ring and bought a Nest, since Ring didn't allow real time video streaming)

* Can't programmatically set or get the nest thermostat temperature, humidity, or home/away status (again, without asking a google assistant device directly).

* I can't get notifications of status changes any more. No more API access to things like notifications when someone rings the doorbell, or a camera sees a person.

* I don't know for sure, but from what I can see this kills any and all Alexa integration.

* And similarly, unless samsung has been blessed by google specifically, SmartThings integrations will go away.

There aren't any real improvements since the Nest products were already available from the google assistant system. And while you can argue many of the new-ish features (like being able to ask the google assistant screen devices to see the camera or get notifications on google home devices for doorbell rings) are improvements since they didn't really use the previous "works with nest" APIs, it's basically trading the ability for anyone to use those APIs, to only google being able to use them and give those abilities out to specific players they allow.

> Can't [do stuff anymore] (without asking a google home device directly)

So what we need is a small piece of text-to-speech hardware that will speak commands to your Google Assistant device.

I've actually already thought about that a bit! Apparently there's a hacker still inside me with a penchant for self-torture that really wants to see how far I can take that interface!

Technically you can do text input in the app already, and I believe they have an SDK that allows you to send your own info to the assistant and get responses of some kind. I'm honestly not sure about that, but i'm curious to see if there is something there I can work with. (and if the pricing model of it follows other google APIs, their "free" tier is probably more than enough to handle a single user, and each hacker-oriented "user" could just setup their own project which is how we also used the nest APIs).

I can then find a set of "commands" that I can feed to the "HID" (for lack of a better term), and create an extremely unofficial API around that...

Getting video back is going to be tough, but maybe with some extreme abuse of the chromecast APIs and that same HID->API interface I can get the google assistant to "cast" the camera feed to a faked chromecast and then pull the stream from there...

But as much as I like to daydream about that kind of stuff, i'm not going to do it. I don't need my google account shut down for abuse (imo probably rightfully so in that case, i'm sure that's against all kinds of terms!), and I don't want to support this decision if they do end up going through with this and don't provide an adequate replacement. So I'll probably just sell my Nest devices like I did previously with my Ring, and find another solution that won't pull the rug out from under me.

I am pretty sure that the main use case of Works With Nest is to tell the thermostat to go up and down. I don't believe you can do that with Works With Google Assistant.

At Google, no one wants to work on existing things. You must create new product/feature to get promoted. Then you move on and thing gets shutdown. This is direct consequences of their internal incentive structure.

The big problem here is that there are a lot of people that have spent a lot of money in buying quality hardware that isn't just for leisure, it's for protection. I'll cite my 4 Nest Protects and an outdoor camera as an example. If somehow they get "sunsetted" due to some Google whim, fad or Because They Can, then I'm going to be pretty p*ssed to say the least. Based on past experience I don't trust Google to act in the users interest.

It's especially annoying when you bought a product specifically because it wasn't a Google product and you had confidence that the developers would leave the devices fully functional for its lifetime, then the company gets bought out by Google and the APIs get shut down or sucked into some goddamn cloud service nonsense.

Google is notorious for abandoning past projects. They are of the "try everything and fail fast" variety, and I wouldn't trust my money with their hardware. Not even software, except for Docs and Gmail.

This is why I feel like Stadia is doomed to failure from the start. It took Microsoft failing for an entire generation, even when they brought some new technology to the table, to start seeing real mindshare in the video game industry.

I don't see Google running a service at a loss for half a decade.

News flash, it will.

All gadgets that are internet connected will stop working sooner or later, I guess with Google it is sooner.

This and privacy concerns is the reason I'm abiding anything IoT. Why should I purchase something that I can't own.

I heard that’s how PowerShell came in existence. Nobody wanted to improve conhost.

> I heard that’s how PowerShell came in existence. Nobody wanted to improve conhost.

PowerShell still relies on conhost.

Do you mean PowerShell ISE instead of plain PowerShell or do you mean cmd.exe instead of conhost?

You're right, cmd.exe not conhost.

It's not really possible to substantially improve either conhost or cmd due to backwards compatibility considerations.

The risk of breaking something for someone is just too high.

And some people dont realize the amount of work Microsoft puts into backwards compatibility. Just look at articles describing the leaked Windows source they describe Microsoft putting in code to path third party Windows software to make sure it still works.

This is also why Wine struggles from version / config to version / config. They cant account for every edge case the way Microsoft does / has. Microsoft by comparison has unlimited resources while Wine is just volunteers who can only test so much software.

They just announced Windows Terminal and even spent time and money on a marketing video for this yet unreleased product:


Granted, conhost will stay for compatibility reasons and this is a new thing.

But it's open source: https://github.com/Microsoft/Terminal . And according to the readme contains the source for conhost.exe too.

“I’m a Works with Nest developer.” Not anymore you’re not.

Sounds like the perfect time to transition to a "`Works with Nest` to `Works with Google Assistant` Conversion Consultant"

Reminds me of this article by Courtney Love comparing the music industry to sharecropping: https://www.salon.com/2000/06/14/love_7/

I'm waiting for the day when Google decides to raise/lower the temperature of millions of homes by 1 degree to brag about how much energy they've saved.

> Wow, just wow. The entire non-Google Nest ecosystem evaporates overnight.

Has it really, or does it simply mean that access is going to be through Google’s API going forward?

It doesn’t seem super clear, but I can see why Google wouldn’t want to maintain two separate APIs.

From what I can see so far, there isn't any way to replicate 90% of the functionality through the assistant APIs, and even their FAQ and messaging seems to be reinforcing that they won't be adding it.

For example, you can't grab images from a camera through the assistant API, you can't get notification of a doorbell ring, you can't get notified when one of the devices detects a person.

But isn't this the risk you take when you build on anyone else's platform?

Isn't this anti-competitive with Amazon?

This seems to include all of us using them in open-source "hobbyist" environments, like Home Assistant and Node-Red. I'm quite frustrated by this; I'll never buy another Nest product again, and I now regret my purchase of the Nest Thermostat.

All the rest of my IoT stuff is either open-source hardware/software, or at the least local-only with known protocol interfaces. This was the one exception I made for IoT "cloud", giving Google the benefit of the doubt. I regret deeply giving them that benefit now.

The month Google originally bought Nest, I sold my thermostat to someone else and picked up an Insteon thermostat instead. My Insteon thermostat's been a reliable partner since, and doesn't send my data to anyone. I actually turned a profit on it, since I got rebate credit from my electric company originally for buying it.

I'm really happy with the Ecobee as well. The Alexa integration in the newer model doesn't work well possibly due to inferior microphones, in my experience, but I didn't want that anyway so it fits my needs perfectly.

In a few years, it will also return a profit due to an at-purchase and annual credit that my electricity utility provides.

The Ecobee has been great, simple and just works. I received it for free from some in-home energy program, but I will buy another when I move.

Does Ecobee have a local API option? I thought it was cloud based as well ...

As far as I understand, it is cloud-based as well with no accessible local API, so it unfortunately doesn't eliminate this possibility in the future.

Glad to see a recommendation for the Insteon thermostat. I have a Nest, but Insteon light switches (and other low voltage controls) throughout so that seems like the logical upgrade path.

Another thing I use that's quite handy is the wireless thermostat from Insteon. It's really more of a remote control/temperature sensor, but it integrates nicely. You can see the temperature from both units, and select which one is the master (the one it's trying to get to the set temperature).

I have pets which don't do well above a certain temperature so I keep my wireless unit by them.

My gripe is the design is nowhere near as good. It's like going from an iPhone to a feature phone.

I wish there were an open-source Nest firmware, or at least an open-source backend. Google doesn't need to know when I'm home.

"Design" is far from my key value metric in a thermostat. When I had my Nest, it looked pretty, but I kept having to re-set the temperature because they'd add some new smart feature that didn't behave the way I wanted to. I ended up largely crippling the crud out of it to begin with.

And of course, after I sold it there was the incident where a server error caused everyone's heat to stop working, so the fact that my pets didn't freeze to death that day made a big impact on me too. ;)

Nest is actually far from great thermostate, definitely not "iPhone" of thermostate. It doesn't allow lots of manual settings and it doesn't handle anything more than simple systems well. There is lot of marketing that is blinding but not much substance. You should check out thermostats like Ecobee instead.

Specifics? It does everything a basic programmable thermostat does in a simpler interface.

I would say it is exactly the iphone of thermostate because the iphone is far from a great phone.

All of the complaints you just made about nest can be attributed to apple as well

Google Nest Kin

I'm using a Nest with Homebridge to expose it to Homekit. Didn't want to purchase one due to the reliance on the cloud and lack of Homekit support.

After months of waffling I gave in and got one. I also regret that decision now too. Last Nest purchase I will ever make.

Same. Never buying a google product again.

You could still return it and get an ecobee.

You might actually have reasons for a lawsuit, if you can reasonable make the court believe that the reason for your purchase was the advertised works with nest API.

If a feature that was advertised is removed after sale, this is reason to revert the sale.

However T&C’s for such product provide legal protection for just this sort of event.

Those T&Cs can't overrule laws that say the opposite, and in the EU, such laws already exist.

Woah, I was really considering a Nest (I use Hass.io for many things, lighting at sunset, reading energy meter and my home energy usage), I'm very glad I didn't purchase one yet.

One more reason to go for a completely-in-my-lan solution.

I got a Venstar recently. Not as slick but has a local API and has worked well with hassio.

Looking at them now, thanx for the tip!

Not everything I'm running is open-source, but I made the same concession with Google in this case. Not using any other Google offering. Avoiding them by choice.

Nest products were the one exception. Previously owned several Nest Protect units and a thermostat. Moved, and installed a Nest thermostat and some temperature sensors. Just a couple of weeks ago, finished writing a data collection script to look at the temperatures in various rooms of the house. Mostly to have some real-world personal data to play with. Was hoping to write an Alfred workflow to change the temperature from my laptop.

Now I've lost those options, and in addition, I will have to have a Google account. (That is how the notice reads, right? You don't have to convert immediately, but you will have to convert eventually?)

Almost consider it my fault. I trusted Google in this one case after losing trust in Google in many other cases. “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”

Will probably start looking for alternatives. Hopefully the corporate machine is paying attention to this, and will realize that attempting to force users into your ecosystem will drive many of them to different ecosystems. But it will take time and effort to regain user trust.

Are there any good alternatives that let you self host a server send don't send your data to someone else? All I've found are some plans from Spark. It doesn't look too difficult to make, just wondering if there were any other kit projects out there.

I've just installed the Drayton Wiser system. It tries to be cloud based but doesn't need to be Internet connected.

EU law (because the EU seems to be the only one willing to make these big laws inconveniencing tech) - any IOT enabled product that has the IOT capabilities removed by closing of a service without a simple way for those capabilities to be re-enabled (simple being further clarified in law) can be returned for a full purchase refund up to 3 months after closing of the service.

IIRC there is a law where you can return items for a full refund or exchange if the product was "not fit for purpose", which includes shenanigans like these.

There is a law you can return anything brought online without giving any reason for 14 days, I don't think there is a law which applies here?

At least in the UK there are the concepts of "fit for purpose" (and of merchantable quality) and "reasonable expected life". Now I doubt there's yet been much chance to evolve what a reasonable life of a smart thermostat or associated devices are, but crucially liability is with the retailer. It's on them to prove they are not liable. If they then want to chase the manufacturer, that's separate. It probably pays not to buy direct from manufacturer.

A retailer can be busy ducking all their legal obligations and telling you that you're long past the window of refund, but mention the provisions of the Sale of Goods Act and you usually get a very different response, or a manager is called over (to authorise the inevitable refund). The Sale of Goods Act is still law (Well, parts of it), and the newer EU Consumer Rights Act is in force as well. Good job too, the Sale of Goods Act is stronger in several areas, whilst the EU gave us 2 year warranty.

There is case law where things have been judged to be within reasonable expected life, and a repair, refund or compensation ordered long after the mandatory warranty ran out.

UK has had the basic "fit for purpose" since the 1979 Sale of Goods Act.

The UK has the "fit for purpose" clause in the Distance Selling Act and I think you can return the product at any time. I'd highly encourage anyone who is inconvenienced by this to exercise such laws.

You still have to strip your thermostats off the wall. The best is still to not buy any device that is meant to last more than 5y that relies on a service.

how about something like - if the product needs to be uninstalled to be returned the company needs to provide for uninstalling the product from the purchasers location and shipped back to the company, with full payment of shipment and uninstallation provided by the company.

You say that as if it's hard to remove.

There are a lot of people who are going to own nest devices that they had professionally installed, as many of these purchases push for using an on-site technician service to install for you (try buying any of the smart thermostats on Amazon, they all have an option for professional installation).

It can be hard especially if you don't have a replacement just lying around.

I'm sure I'm missing something, but in the past when I've replaced thermostats it's pretty easy. Easy to find a replacement and easy to do the work. I know that everyone has different levels of skill here but this is less involved than, say, replacing an outlet.

A replacement compatible with the heating that may have been installed 10 years ago by a company that went out of business and from a manufacturer that also went out of business.

Some of the EU customer protections are really top notch. God knows we can't just trust the tech companies to not be manipulative pieces of shit. "Don't be evil" - my ass.

I'm interested in reading more about this, could someone provide more information on this law?

It's basically derived from the requirement that product works as advertised + legal guarantee that the product remain working as advertised.


It's not a law, bryan is suggesting it.

I tried finding information on this, but couldn't. Could you provide links?

sorry, I thought I was clear in suggesting it as a law - although realistically in a lot of EU countries you could make the case and get it returned.

For example I'm in Denmark and we have a consumer ombudsmand were you can make complaints about violations of your rights as a consumer https://www.consumerombudsman.dk/about-us/ (it talks about marketing but I the Nest was marketed to have functionality it no longer has), in fact there may already be sort of an Ombudsmand ruling that pertains here https://www.consumerombudsman.dk/media/46530/2016-memorandum... which says you can return something after your normal right of return but you are liable for diminished value - so you would not get the full refund in this case but something.

Of course I think that an actual complaint on this subject would result in a memorandum that you can get your full refund.

Update - I had an opportunity to ask someone who definitely knows exactly what the rules are in Denmark and they said that if Google refused to refund you would have to take them to court but they are also certain that any eventual legal process would find Google liable for refunding as long as the Nest was ever marketed for its now no longer functioning capabilities.

You should probably throw the word "Proposal" in your original post somewhere. It's not clear.

looks like edit window is gone

This law would end up hurting the upstarts. Alternatives should be made and the consumer should be picking winners with their dollar.

The problem is you’ve voted with your dollar already. You’ve looked at the market and selected the one that meets your needs. Then the maker changes what you’ve purchased.

Yeah, it would end up hurting the upstarts, but the lack of this law hurts customers and hurts business on the long term because consumer trust evaporates.

Or, they could build it in a way where it can be modified (for self hosting for example) in the first place.

that's what I meant with simple to change, basically.

Not aware of such a law but there's a related European IOT project: http://big-iot.eu

BIG IoT is a European project to enable IoT Ecosystems. With our technologies, we enable cross- standard, cross-platform, and cross-domain IoT services and applications. We are embedded in the European IoT Platforms Initiative: https://iot-epi.eu

For those who see this as Google turning off an unused service: no, just no. This is Google cutting off a massive interop ecosystem to try to parlay the success of Nest into higher adoption of Google Home. That’s vastly different than shutting down G+, Wave, Orkut, Reader, etc.

It would be as if they announced tomorrow that the only way to read GMail is in Chrome browser or on an Android phone.

> For those who see this as Google turning off an unused service: no, just no. This is Google cutting off a massive interop ecosystem to try to parlay the success of Nest into higher adoption of Google Home. That’s vastly different than shutting down G+, Wave, Orkut, Reader, etc.

It's exactly the same as previous shutdowns, it's just that you didn't personally care about previous shutdowns and couldn't be arsed to emphasise or learn the lesson that google can not be trusted to keep services alive.

The sharp folks are those like ocdtrekkie upthread who shed their nest immediately upon learning of the acquisition.

Since you claim its exactly the same as previous shutdowns listed; when Google shut down Wave, which paid for Google product were they aiming to increase adoption of?

my memory of wave is that it barely even launched. wasn't it around less than a year? did anyone actually use it?

My group of friends tried to. It could have been quite successful, since it basically offered what Discord is now.

How? I guess you could use it like a chat room just putting new messages at the bottom of the document but seems like a crazy kludge to use Wave as a chat.

I thought that was its intended primary purpose. We could chat and inline media, pictures, etc. It was a big upgrade from IRC. There were issues with sharing files larger than just images and whatnot, but it easily could have been polished a bit into something better. If Discord added the ability to have 'threads', it would basically be what we used Wave for. For a few weeks anyway until Google decided it wasn't catching on enough or whatever justification they gave for giving up on it.

I don't think I ever heard of it being pitched that way just as a collaborative editing room for editing an actual document not just for using the comments etc as a chat.

G-Suite (Docs).

It's a typical Asshole Executive move: leverage successful feature to increase adoption of random other product, and then convert adoption increase into bonus and career opportunities, and hope that the loss in goodwill isn't noticed.

It was the same when G+ was created. Asshole Executives started jamming + buttons everywhere, including search results (!). They killed + in search queries as meaning "required". Every semi-successful feature had to get G+ integration to maximize the adoption of G+.

> Every semi-successful feature had to get G+ integration to maximize the adoption of G+.

Also, forced Youtube integration and G+ accounts being required even to rate Android apps.

Funny that G+ was still ignored despite this effort.

Some times people say "What if $COMPANY goes evil?". But if Google couldn't make G+ successful, then them going evil shouldn't be too concerning. They're clearly not as powerful as one could think

I'd be inclined to believe it was ignored because of this effort.

s/Funny/Fair and just/

We shouldn’t reward scummy behaviour like this.

I think it’s very similar to shutting down Reader, which I’ve long believed was killed in a vain attempt to force adoption of G+.

They kind of did do that with Offline Gmail, though.

Gmail is still imap readable.

With the caveat of having to jump through a series of hoops every few months because Google kindly decided to switch off "unsafe access"

That's never, ever happened to me.

It happens to me all the time. I used to use Gmail API to send mail (personal hobby app, to my own account). Every now and then Gmail would randomly refuse to authenticate through the API because of unsafe or suspicious access or some other BS. Then I would need to jump through some hoops (log in manually though browser, toggle on/off the "allow less secure app" setting, the disable unlock captcha setting, and it would work again for a while before acting up again.

I don't think depreciating the use of "Give your Google account password to $app" or "Give $app a fixed never expiring key that's as good as your password" unless you explicitly enable it is particularly user hostile.

If you used the Gmail API https://developers.google.com/gmail/api and client that supports OAuth instead of SMTP with username/password you wouldn't really run into this problem.

Yeah it kind of sucks for hobbyists because it's not as simple as sending an SMTP email but that's more to do with the lack of good tooling than something fundamental.

For now

I used to be a fan of Google. They were the good ones, the open ones. Ha! I’ve feel like they played the long sucker game. How times have changed. Even Android feels like a ruse. And Chrome. And maps.

The last thing will be search. At some point it’ll be curated for my own good.

To be fair, Everyone has to make a living, but be honest don’t take people for suckers of make them into suckers.

It feels like Google search is already curated. At home I cannot find academic articles which appeared in the search at work, because my girlfriend trained the home's recommendation engine on searches for cute cat pictures and domestic things. In DuckDuckGo, at least I know I will be able to find the same results for the same search terms no matter where I am.

Wow, I agree. Lately I've noticed search sometimes just pops in websites just because I visited it from a previous search, relevancy be damned! and it suuuuuucks.

I seem to be able to find a much more limited selection of content than I used to in the past. It used to be that even obscure search queries turned up something useful, but now you either get nothing or the same old big or commercial sites. There has to be tons of content out there that Google just can't seem to find anymore.

There was a discussion about exactly that here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19604135

Ironically I could not find this link via DDG, but it was the first hit on Google.

Matbe it’s cuz google knows you frequent hacker news....

I used site:news.ycombinator.com on both engines

Use a VPN in a private VM.

Use a VPN in a private VM so you can use Google and get decent search results?

Is your response satire?

I want to believe it is.

What can I say? I mean, it works.

Using Google via VPN services, there are many other users. Occasionally someone's been a jerk, and Google gives you the stinkeye. But then you switch to a different server.

I added "private VM" in case OP was sharing a machine with his girlfriend. But really, it's always prudent to use VPNs from dedicated VMs. Because that compartmentalizes tracking. And using VMs also simplifies managing machine state. You can use a fresh clone for each session, for example. Or boot from a static image.

I like DDG and StartPage, for sure. But sometimes I just gotta use Google.

It’s not, I do something similar. Google results are just that much better for certain content I have found

Or, duck duck go with the g! prefix, if you really must use google with bubbling turned off (instead of a reasonable alternative).

DDG isn't magic. It doesn't bubble you on its own results (or at least it claims not to), but it can't change how external providers behave.

Sadly, in this day and age, a good, usable search engine that does not enclose you into your own bubble is magic.

Using !s will proxy through Startpage, so you get Google results through an actual search proxy instead of just going to Google (I don't think !g "un-bubbles" anything).

Or, you know, you can just create a separate user in the OS. Or even just create a separate browser user profile (for Chrome, Firefox has it as well)

I recall thinking, a long time ago, "You never see ads for Google stuff on TV. That's because what they make is so much better they don't need to advertise them."

I think you can mark the spot where the business folk took the reins from the engineers by the date of their first TV ads.

I don't watch TV ads, but a giant Chromebook ad is now cycling on the billboard next to my office.

I really wish more jurisdictions would ban billboard ads.

Why though? Becauss Google uses them?

No, I've been against billboards long before Google started using them. IMO they're visual blight that don't serve any positive function.

What about ads in general?

What about them? Other than ads in public spaces, which I think shouldn't be permitted, they're avoidable.

I agree. I used to be a fan. They were explicitly not evil, gave lots of open source stuff away for free, made lots of other free services.

Turns out they were just making us dependent on them, and now that they've got us, they do whatever they want. We need to make ourselves less dependent on Google. Move away from GMail, use Firefox, DuckDuckGo, OSM, federated social networks, etc. I don't have a good replacement for Android yet, as iOS is just another walled garden. Similarly, Facebook is no replacement for Google+. We need stuff to be opener, not dependent on another company. For email, you need to own your own domain, so you can easily move from one provider to another.

god I tried. DuckDuckGo just does not work as well as it needs to. It gets touted as a turn key google search replacement but it’s simply not. 4 times today, I searched 5+ different ways for something after poor results, each thing took one search to find on google. Granted, maybe I am just more familiar with how to get the most out of googles search, maybe it has such a vast profile on me that it understands what I want i am looking for. Either way, i am pretty close to caving and it’s sad

You can use the !SP operator before your DDG search to invoke StartPage, which uses Google results. I mean, it's the same thing, just it doesn't look like you're using Google search ;)

Even better, with same results: use !s as a token anywhere in your search string :)

LineageOS [0] is also worth a look, it's like Android without all the un-uninstallable Google spyware. No play services, no need to log in to a G account to use the device, no G apps (but you can install them separately if desired), no background data harvesting, etc.

The open source MicroG project [1] takes things a step further by acting as a drag-and-drop replacement for Google Play Services. It provides a FOSS location provider backend, allows the device passes SafetyNet checks (Snapchat/Pokemon Go/online banking), and generally makes for a seamless mobile experience.

I've been using both for ~6 months now and the only noticeable difference is GPS taking a few seconds longer to get a satellite lock. Definitely worth a shot if you're interested in de-googling your Android.

[0] https://www.lineageos.org/

[1] https://lineage.microg.org/

>I don't have a good replacement for Android yet

It might not suit your needs, but I've been happily using SailfishOS for the past four years.

> SailfishOS

Descended from MeeGo, I see. I hadn't heard from it yet, but I'll have a look.

... use the contact pages on web sites you like that use AMP- to stop using AMP.

They use AMP to get ranked higher by Google. We need to stop using Google Search if we want sites to stop using AMP.

Search is increasingly worthless for certain terms. They are things I can't find anymore even with refining the search query.

Basically it's good for anything geo or <your language> related but everything else is getting worse.

I guess not all search is profitable, perhaps there gradually "optimising" on financially profitable search, so only crawling sites that relates to content for users that bring then in money, only returning SERP items that bring in money? Obviously they need their search to be broadly useful too, but many searches probably have no financial benefit for them??

It can't be for lack of crawling - my little ad-free forum which hasn't seen more than a couple concurrent users for years is crawled daily by Googlebot.

You can go in the google searchmaster’s console and tell them to scrape you less frequently, save some bandwidth.

They were good for a long while too. Like, long enough that you started to feel it might last forever.

I’m really not sure why they felt the need to change a winning strategy...

Search was curated a long time ago, friend. Now is the time for a true search contender, imo.

And now Microsoft is becoming a crowd favorite.

This must be the dystopian future we were warned about.

What's the point of creating an ecosystem if you won't support it? Typical Google. I understand shutting down or refocusing services that don't work. But decisions like this or to shut down Inbox make no sense to me. It feels like complete disregard of the user base.

Google has done this again and again with their APIs and services other than their main search and advertising business. For me as a developer Google has a bad name now and I'd never invest my time developing something in their ecosystem or worse have my business depend on it. They do not care about their user base as is shown even when they shut down paid services. Which is why even with all their promises about Google Cloud I still don't trust it. When one says that about Google Cloud you get this immune response that it is different, but it is prefixed with Google which is a bad name when it comes to keeping third party services or APIs up paid or unpaid.

I've been a Google apologist for most of my HN career, but shutting down Inbox really changed my view. Regular old GMail sucks compared to Inbox, especially the mobile app. I miss the Inbox app and its layout and recognition of important emails so much that I don't feel like I can get attached to anything else they make.

I’d long been thinking about it, but this shutdown is what triggered me completely moving away from Google.

Google was over for me when they shutdown Reader. I was using that service everyday. Lots of people did too. They just don't care.

I find it funny that pointing to this state of affairs in the comments of HN posts about new Google products attracts downvotes like nobody's business.

I think it's because that AdSense revenue is so sweet and so easy that nothing else is as interesting to the organization. Pretty difficult benchmark for competing products to show their value. It's like an oil rich nation investing in unrelated industries for which they have no history or pedigree in order to build a sustainable future.

There's also a well-documented culture within Google that it's an attractive resume-builder to launch new products, but nobody wants to maintain a product.

They didn't create the ecosystem, they bought it. They didn't want it, they wanted everyone to be in their ecosystem instead.

They care for their user base.

Their user base just isn't us people using their services.

At some point there has to be a value in marketing for keeping people happy, right? At least mothball upgrades and leave this running "slowly" or _anything_ other than just shut everything down for reasons...

My daughter wrote a letter to a clothing manufacturer about how the embroidered lettering was falling apart on a brand name shirt. They sent her a new one, for free.

That is good marketing. What Google is doing? Slowly turning their brand into the "don't trust us with anything long term" brand.

> What Google is doing?

Google Doodles.

edit: by that I mean using many tools to project an image of clean smart friendliness.

That clothing manufacturer doesn't have a billion daily users who will use them regardless of how evil they are.

No but Microsoft used to be untouchable too. They've come back a bit under Nadella who seems to understand why people use his product. I never thought I'd see the day where I trusted MS more than Google but wow has Google just become a scummy, unreliable company since Alphabet.

I've gone from considering MS outright evil to being unconcerned about being their customer.

While with Google I now find myself actively worrying about how to avoid their services before they break things I depend on. I certainly will not use any new services from Google... It feels like the world has turned upside down.

Agreed. Microsoft had the whole “embrace, extend, extinguish phase” but Google really took it to the next level.

Now it’s just “acquire, extinguish”

> It feels like complete disregard of the user base.

Probably because it IS complete regard for the user base :/

They don't care about their user base, they care about branding and profits. If this sells more units then they will go with that.

What is their branding if not the opinion of their user base?

Just an aside I was never able to successfully register my gmail account to work with Inbox. Even with the invite there was something wrong I could never get past. Google does big things, but "making stuff work" just isn't one of them afaict.

So now all Nest accounts have to go through Google. Can’t wait for the first time some Android developer gets their Google account locked and suddenly can’t change the temperature on their HVAC unit.

Or that people using Gsuite wont be able to perform certain actions because ... reasons? My Google home hub is still pretty useless since they don't allow some features.

So my Nest app[1] that has 1800+ registered users will stop working in August. :'(

[1] https://richev.me/nest

Can you switch it to Works with Google Assistant and get the same data?

That's a good question - and I'm not sure.

I created my app when I had a Nest thermostat and was working from home. The thermostat would assume that no-one was at home during the day - and so turn off the heating - as I didn't walk past it often enough, so the original purpose of the app was just to detect when I was actively using my PC, and ping the thermostat not to go into "Away" mode.

It was then really rewarding to add more features and make the app available for others to use. I got some lovely feedback and sensible feature requests via email, and one user generously did a French translation of the UI. I even got a small number of $€£s in Paypal donations!

However. I no longer have a Nest thermostat (moved to Australia, where they're not available), no longer work from home, and now have a young son. So I have to admit that prioritising the time & finding the motivation to rework the app to work against a different set of APIs (if even possible) may be hard to come by.

Look not to be blunt, but 1800 users? Why should they care?

I'm being a devils advocate, but ... if you were at Google and a person making large business decisions, why would you care about 1800 users?

What are you playing devils advocate against? OP wasn't saying it was a bad business decision by google, he was just saying it sucks for the 1800 people using his thing.

Are you saying those 1800 people can't be upset about the lost functionality because they don't effect Google's bottom line?

I don't understand how your comment follows from the GP

Developer hours going towards enriching the ecosystem at no cost to Google are gold. They’ve now alienated this dev, and produced yet another cautionary tale for anyone thinking about relying on Google.

Because having an open API fosters a community of applications that is free marketing and free development for your product.

Nest products are expensive, those 1800 users may equate to a few hundred thousand in revenue for Google, who may instead buy a competitor for their next purchase.


We don’t know the value that’s being lost since we are talking about potential in early days. 1800 can go to 180,000 in a short time. We don’t know where Twitter would be if they hadn’t tanked their client ecosystem. We don’t know where Wave would be.

Most of the value that is being lost is for Google, at least if they have any expectation of dependence on developer trust in the future.

1800 is big number. When you piss off these many people, they talk, they let their friends know, they tweet. It's a world of instant information that spreads like wild fire. You are easily talking about turning away 18000 or even million users depending on who picks up their frustration. You are one journalist away from disaster. So if you got to piss off these many people, you better have real good reason and be able to explain it convincingly. You show empathy. You have path for switch. You give enough of notice. I see none of that in Google's blog post. Absolutely none. They have hired people who simply don't care or perhaps are so dumb that they don't even know the damage they are doing. Next time when Google guy show up at interview, make sure to ask him/her big decisions he/she made about product shutdowns and how they executed on them.

> Why should they care?

Because they're still users, and that's only for this app; there are a lot more Nest users than that. How Google treats them is a sign of how they may treat other users in the future. If Google make it a habit to screw users, users will not trust Google in the future. Losing the trust of your users is more expensive than some companies seem to realise.

He's not going to be the only one with a few thousand users.

What exactly qualifies as a user? Are API users individual accounts making transactions? Are they companies that have registered with Google to use the Works with Nest API?

If it's 1800 individual hobbyists I get it, but if we're talking about 1800 small and medium businesses that have to find a different way to support their customer base that's a huge problem.


If I'm a technologist or developer, I would be less enthusiastic about suggesting or implementing other Google technologies due to the poor form they continue to show in developer relations.

Google is poisoning their brand to the people who control the spend and make technology decisions. While Ballmer's "Developers, developers, developers" delivery on stage was painful, he was right, and Nadella at Microsoft gets it.

I would not recommend any Google products, including Google Cloud, to anyone.

Wait, so people that bought other devices that "Works with Nest" will no longer work with Nest?

Another reminder to never buy a "smart" device. At the end of the day they are pretty dumb.

Once again HomeKit's design proves to be prescient.


Hrm. How so? HomeKit does not allow third party devs to write apps to control HomeKit devices, AFAICT. So they never added the capability that Google is removing. People can still develop devices that are triggered by Nest and Google Home. They just can no longer write apps that themselves trigger or modify Nest devices.

Or are you saying it's prescient because Apple saw that such capabilities were not economically viable in the long run, and so it was prescient of them to never develop the functionality in the first place?

HomeKit doesn't require an internet connection for smart home devices to work, it doesn't require you to use the smart home maker's garbage apps or sign up for accounts with them, it gives away for free features that smart home makers try to put behind subscription paywalls, and most importantly it was designed to be secure.

I haven’t tested this, but I believe you could use Homebridge to create a virtual “button” that got “pushed” when you hit some API endpoint, then configure HomeKit to change something when the button gets pressed.

HomeBridge can control HomeKit accessories just fine.

Can you show an example of HomeBridge controlling an HomeKit accessory? The description of the project says the opposite: it allows the control of non-HomeKit accessories from HomeKit.

HomeKit is not open and requires Apple devices.

That is not true. The HomeKit protocol is documented. There are at least a few open source projects that implement it both as accessories and hubs. Home Bridge being the best known one.

If all the accessory vendors were to go under and Apple were to stop supporting HomeKit tomorrow, HomeKit accessories and hubs would still operate just fine and alternatives could be created. Even using Alexa or Google Nest for voice control.

Being documented is not enough. Implementing a commercial device requires including an Authentication component (before it used to be an actual chip, now it seems it can be done in software), and that can be used to prevent devices from speaking to alternative control apps.

From what I can tell, Homebridge implements Homekit as a device, receiving commands. But can anyone build an app or device to send commands, outside of iOS?

The fact that I can't find an Homekit control app for Android strongly indicates this is not possible.

Being fully documented means anything can work in any way.

> Being fully documented means anything can work in any way.

A protocol being fully documented does not mean you can get a device you cannot control (like an Homekit lightbulb) to connect to your server instead of the manufacturer's. If requests are signed and/or encrypted, knowing the protocol won't help if you don't have the keys. See also Tivoization.

> For example, search the web for ‘homebridge alexa’

I had found it. I don't think you realize that there's no Homekit there at all.

The point of Homebridge is to translate from a Homekit-speaking control app/assistant to a non-Homekit-enabled device:


But when you use homebridge-alexa, you're replacing that first link with another protocol (specifically, MQTT+JSON, which is what it uses to connect to https://www.homebridge.ca/).

So you've actually removed all Homekit parts from your smart home system!

Samsung's SmartThings seems to be pretty similar. Not sure about it's security though.

I have Wemo smart plugs that I have plugged in all sorts of stuff like Heater, Lamps, and TV, etc connected to my Google Home and Home Mini. And I'd advise anyone to think twice before buying smart plugs or smart devices. There are so many bugs creating so many complications that I feel they are not worth using. You'd need to reconnect them with WEMO app time and again, restart these frequently if they just stop working and even you would not know what to do with them when a failed firmware upgrade will make your smart plug useless!

The sad thing is it's not rocket science.

It's just terrible, barely working, shoehorned in buggy drivers, "shipped as soon as it can appear functional" code.

You could take a microcontroller, write something simple, and have something that worked to a few 9s.

Instead, IoT vendors spend their time optimizing their data collection and monetization platforms.

"You had one job..." would be a good epitaph for the entire industry.

s/a few nines/more nines than the cloud/

Not really, my power from PG&E in the Bay Area has fewer nines than even the cheapest cloud providers.

> And I'd advise anyone to think twice before buying smart plugs or smart devices.

Not all smart devices are created alike. Research your purchases.

So far the one I’ve been most happy with is IKEA Trådfri.

It costs roughly half of the comparable Phillips hue offering, but still delivers on any aspect I care about.

Works 100% locally, uses standard Zigbee (non-WiFi) networking. No cloud required.

Supports HomeKit, Alexa, google assistant, not to mention Home Assistant.

More importantly, it supports other vendor’s Zigbee devices (like Hue) and supports working with other Zigbee controllers than IKEA’s own.

Also certified non-shit by kernel-hacker Matthew Garret[1].

Nobody can shut me out of this purchase. This is actually my hardware.

[1] https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/47803.html

I have also voted with my money for IKEA Trådfri and am quite happy with it. Light bulbs, motion sensors, remote controls. Everything connected to zigbee coordinator and controlled with simple node red flows. And good thing is that list of supported devices is longer than any other single vendor with option to expand it by your self.

Baby starts moving in bedroom, light bulb flashes in kitchen.

Sonos stopped supporting remote control, no problem, map IKEA remote controller to start/stop Sonos playback.





I have Trådfri and Philips Hue. Trådfri is good, but I prefer my Hue devices. They are even better quality.

i’m also pretty happy with my ikea trådfri bulbs and outlets. works with homekit via the trådfri hub (which i got for half price in the as-is section) so i can create scenes and automations easily. it’s still early and limited, and new features are slow to come by, but i’m not trying to do anything fancy yet anyway.

All I can say is if like me you'd bought Energenie MiHomes, you'd have spent half as much working out that you need to think twice becase there are so many bugs that make them not worth using... I seldom hear success stories from us early adopters with smarthome things.

I also have two Nests. Stringify has now shut down (and was buggy/difficult to use), and IFTTT is now losing access to Nest it seems, so I guess that's a real knockback of at least several years for smarthome.

Even when it was all in theory working, the most simple thing was not actually possible - Nest shows you humidity, so when humidity is over 60%, turn on the dehumidifier (I have one upstairs, one downstairs). Such a simple task coudln't be achieved because of about individual problems, and this to me puts the date of solving it back quite a way.

If I'm reading this right, the Wemo plugs should still work? The part of the program that's ending is that Nest devices can no longer be controlled by third party apps. Devices that are controlled by Nest should still be controlled by Nest. At least, unless I have vastly misunderstood the FAQ?

I bought a WeMo plug and was quite shocked to discover that there is no form of security or authentication. Anyone using the same network that your WeMo devices are using can control them using the WeMo mobile app and crucially keep controlling them once they have left your network via the Belkin cloud. They are effectively proving an open door to your network that requires you to trust Belkin to keep secure.

Edit: They do support UPnP, but still they are wide open to attack.

Wemo’s plugs support other protocols too, don’t they? Could you bridge one of those to what you need?

I have Wemo smart plugs connected to AppleHome and have no issues.

Adding to this, I have them setup with Google Assistant, and Alexa. No issues with Assistant, and rare issues with Alexa.

Not saying the OP isn't having issues, but there might be a sample bias when reading the comments.

Don't buy electronic devices not supporting open standards or technologies.

There are many wonderful devices from China that have hackable APIs that don't need to phone home to Google to work. They're also much cheaper and more OSS friendly.

I’m always worried about:

- security

- support

- safety

With those devices. Don’t get me wrong, I love AliExpress - but I’d be worried about anything running at mains voltage, especially when I’m away from home.

Most of what I purchase on that front is from Amazon. Excepting a few wifi switches (which are UL listed), everything runs on 12v.

Unless you roll your own. But then we’re in the bad old days of home automation just for tinkerers...

I have lost all hope that it will ever be otherwise. It's quite straightforward to build smart home devices for youself that are reliable and don't depend on the whims of some cloud or firmware vendor, but the minute you try to form a company that sells them you'll be required to generate a continuing revenue stream which means shitting on your customers in one way or the other.

Is this true? I’ve used open source printers from Lulzbot and others, and I haven’t had this experience. I think the moral of the story is to not put stuff on some closed platform in the cloud, not that you shouldn’t use company-provided hardware.

I think his point was that it is hard to keep a company going making just the hardware. The margins are low, and customers only have to pay you once, to get the hardware.

It is hard to make a lasting business off that, which is why everyone wants to do subscription services.

It used to be the only way to make business in not so long past. People made money selling products just fine.

Maybe it's because people trying to get rich quick playing the VC lottery are sucking the oxygen out for people who want to just do a honest to God, "payment in exchange for providing value" type of business.

Yes, I think it's the VC mindset. It's "grow fast and exit quick" rather than "build a sustainable business."

I honestly have give it quite a bit of thought as to what it would take to start an open source hardware company. Everything has a user accessable API and the option to use their own firmware if they want.

The more important thing than hack-ability is that the product is rock solid.

That implies stuff like "there is one way to do it", "95+% branch coverage in unit tests", and "100,000-1M hours of automated stress testing of real hardware before shipping a new board rev."

and any cloud services would be AGPL

I realize this is Google's moment of "Plays for Sure".

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