Nest’s Time At Alphabet: A “Virtually Unlimited Budget” With No Results

HardOCP News

[H] News
Joined
Dec 31, 1969
Messages
0
I know the big story here is supposed to be about all the money Nest has blown through with very little to show for it and its CEO stepping down but, to be perfectly honest, the main reason I wanted to post this story is because of this picture:

In return for all this investment, Nest delivered very little. The Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector both existed before the Google acquisition, and both received minor upgrades under Google's (and later Alphabet's) wing. A year after buying Dropcam, Nest released the Nest Cam, which was basically a rebranded Dropcam. Two-and-a-half years under Google/Alphabet, a quadrupling of the employee headcount, and half-a-billion dollars in acquisitions yielded minor yearly updates and a rebranded device. That's all.
 

steakman1971

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 22, 2005
Messages
2,433
I have been watching smart thermostats for a few years - the Nest was probably the first one out that was slick. Over the last few years, others have been introduced that seemed more innovative. For instance, the EcoBee would be my current one I'd buy (if I were buying one). I like the external sensors and the interface looks about as nice as the Nest.
Honeywell has also been rolling these out - the first ones looked kind of bad, but the newer ones are catching up in style.
IDK - Nest doesn't seem like they've done much.
For the record, I've talked myself out of a smart thermostat for now. My family has patterns that would basically not be something a thermostat could "learn" - plus, we usually have someone how most of the time. I have a programmable thermostat that works. The interface is not the nicest, but I only have to use it a few times a year. Sad part is, my electric company installed it as a pilot for a smart energy program. It had a web interface (which wasn't very good) - the program ended, web site taken down. At least I can still use the thermostats interface...and it didn't cost me anything.
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
13,830
I knew Nest Labs was a one-trick pony from the moment Nest Thermostat launched. There's not much else in the house that can benefit from such connectedness, aside from "can I turn if off over the internet" kind of things. Cloud optimization? It's a salesman's desperate pitch.

I knew the moment they got into safety as their second product they were fucked. The Keep It Simple Stupid mantra never goes away even when people choose to ignore it, and that was a clusterfuck of recalls. But Google still sunk billions for this shithole.
 
Last edited:

Zarathustra[H]

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
31,548
They probably spent all that time and money reworking the firmware and software of their original devices which was in a pretty pitiful state with horrible breaking bugs for a long time. They have become much better in the time since Google (can't bring myself to call it Alphabet) bought them.
 

tec1500

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Messages
68
We have a Nest. I would say it saves a little bit of money, but overall probably not much difference between it and actively changing it ourselves when we leave the house. The main thing I really like about it, is the ability to sit here in front of my computer and change the temp without getting up. I love using technology to be lazy! :p

One thing though. After I quit my on call job, it sure learned patterns better and changes the temp a lot better than before. By far though, the best thing is the ability to change the temp from anywhere including bed.
 

Zion Halcyon

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 28, 2007
Messages
2,108
Yeah, I don't know how fair it is to call this a shitty product. It's just a product with limited growth potential - really, there is nowhere else to go with it, so it's not something where you really can "grow the brand".
 

SuperSubZero

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 21, 2000
Messages
3,672
I have a Gen 1 Nest Thermostat and the smoke detector. I had hoped it would lead to more serious smart home devices but that seems to have puttered out. Kind of a shame.
 

Retronym

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
13,621
hunting/nesting reference + dog don't hunt reference = tortured joke
 

az_max

Gawd
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
651
I would have looked at the Nest, but I need it to integrate with my current home management solution, Crestron with Insteon lighting. Insteon has a thermostat too and I think I can read the settings with Crestron, or I can buy an uber expensive Crestron and control it from my phone, tablet, touchpanel, PC or standing in front of it.
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
I have a couple of the Nest Smoke alarms.
Needed to have a smoke alarm & CO2 detector both upstairs and downstairs to get a permit approved of some other work I was having done.

Out here in California, all the new smoke alarms (battery) must have a sealed 10 year battery (not replaceable).
Every combo smoke & CO2 detector I looked at had horrible ratings, and without the ability to remove the battery, there is no way to shut it off or reset it without destroying it. Also many reports of the batteries dying after just a few years.

The Nest is the only battery operated Smoke/CO2 alarm with replaceable batteries that is legal to buy in California. It is also designed to limit false alarms, and even gives you a warning when it detect low levels (like when cooking) before sounding the alarm, giving you time to press the button to disable the alarm. The Internet connectivity was not the main reason I went with the nest, however it is nice to be notified on my phone if the alarm goes off.

It does bring up an interesting question. If you are traveling, and nobody is home, how do you explain to 911 that they need to send someone out to your house even though nobody is home?


As for the Nest thermostat, I we don't normally leave our heat/air on, so I don't want something trying to learn our patterns.
Also, it's a good replacement for older or basic systems, but if you install it on many of the newer systems, you will lose some of the features of your system.
For example, I just installed a 2 stage Heating & Air conditioning system, and went with the vendors WiFi thermostat that controls the different stages.
It can be setup to work with something like the Nest Thermostat, but the system has to be set to an automatic mode that is not as efficient as letting the thermostat control the different stages.
 

hardboner

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
235
this shit was heavily marketed that I knew its name and recognized it by appearance.
But I never bothered to learn more about it.
 

Viper16

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 3, 2005
Messages
1,745
this shit was heavily marketed that I knew its name and recognized it by appearance.
But I never bothered to learn more about it.
+1 - Beside the way they tried to run a home AC was not efficient from an energy standpoint. Typically if you run the thermostat more than a few degrees from set-point during the hottest summer days, then the load was shot and the system ran even harder, trying to dehumidify and cool down the latent load thats has built up.
 

Ruoh

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
5,858
I likely won't move to a smart thermostat until I'm in a place that makes financial sense to install self opening and closing air registers with temp sensors. That way it can intelligently cool different parts of the house based on temp.
 

spaceman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
14,797
They spent billions on this product? Wow. Google be slippin. I could have told them not to bother for $50.
 

Sonicks

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
1,401
I don't really understand why expectations were so high for Nest. They made one product and made it good but at the end of the day it was just one product.

It's Google's fault for not realizing the company was a one-trick pony before they snatched them up.
 
Last edited:

Rustynuts

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 6, 2003
Messages
10,348
Yet another example of why mergers and acquisitions should be illegal. Does nothing but add cost and line the pockets of the few at the top. Survive on your own merits, grow organically, or DIE. Like true capitalism should be.
 

Viper16

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 3, 2005
Messages
1,745
we have our electric company wanting consumers to use their "Energy Start" thermostat, but they have control of turning off/on the unit. Local contractors have gone around ripping out the +$200 stats from the electric company and installing the simple Honeywell Controllers. 7-day Scheduling with a few degree changes between occupy/unoccupy times. If not, just leave the stat at a reasonable temp (72-76F summer, 65-68F Winter) and insulate your home properly.
 

dsmwookie

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
268
You guys keep saying "billions", I think you mean millions. The thermostat is a good product and quickly paid for itself in under a year for myself. I don't see why all the hate.
 

Trigger

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
140
It really just sounds like the Nest CEO Tony Fadell got so much money from the buyout he just stopped caring, and entered into the legendary "how long can I troll before I get fired" mode

I guess 2.5 years is the answer
 

Uvaman2

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
3,143
how stupid do you have to be not to learn your usage pattern and then enter that into a cheap programmable thermostat.. shiiiit.
 

Dunnlang

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
200
The company I work for was owned by Google for a period of time. My experience was quite different, though the end results were similar in some ways. They did not lavish us with cash. Most of what was suggested they would spend did not materialize. Many additional costs were shifted on to our books that were expenditures we would not have taken had it not been for their urging. They tried to get us to stop or slow down some innovative products, only to turn around and share them with other companies as soon as we finished.

It was not a good experience. At the time, it seemed like they were so high on Nest and giving them everything they wanted while we were actively being worked against. I feel we did some good work before, during and after that time. It's ironic, and sad, to see that Nest apparently did not do any good work (that made it to market).
 

Uvaman2

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
3,143
The company I work for was owned by Google for a period of time. My experience was quite different, though the end results were similar in some ways. They did not lavish us with cash. Most of what was suggested they would spend did not materialize. Many additional costs were shifted on to our books that were expenditures we would not have taken had it not been for their urging. They tried to get us to stop or slow down some innovative products, only to turn around and share them with other companies as soon as we finished.

It was not a good experience. At the time, it seemed like they were so high on Nest and giving them everything they wanted while we were actively being worked against. I feel we did some good work before, during and after that time. It's ironic, and sad, to see that Nest apparently did not do any good work (that made it to market).
Its about accounting and shit like that too.. certainly sounds sucky.
 

dethklokworkorange

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
176
It does bring up an interesting question. If you are traveling, and nobody is home, how do you explain to 911 that they need to send someone out to your house even though nobody is home?
The burden of proof to get a response from 911 is miniscule. Now, a dispatcher may be one of the most naturally sceptical people you run across, but they'll still send the calvary. There are quite a few automated alarms from businesses, ADT, etc. But I could see it making a good SNL skit.
 
Top