Many times when we discuss voice controlled technology with clients, the conversation always turns to security and privacy concerns. People want to know: what exactly are Alexa, Google, Siri and other artificial intelligence platforms listening to?
Recording? What exactly is our data used for? These are reasonable questions, considering that we are inviting a product into our homes that basically listens to every word we say and monitors our daily activities. Also, a few recent articles in the national news about cameras being hacked or folks being locked out of their electronic doors have added to people’s suspicions about bringing in a voice controlled device.
In all of the newsworthy situations, people’s passwords were stolen because of a lack of vigilance in protecting personal data; basically, the fault was with the owners.
In this post, we want to specifically address why we, here at Play Home Technology, like the Google Nest platform and why we have put our faith and trust into this technology. Firstly, our experiences relate to Nest and other voice technologies as a tool in an overall home automation package, one where there is a central control system such as Control4, Elan, Lutron or others acting as the “brain” of the house.
After all, many people are misguided into thinking that you can run to Lowes or Target and buy an Amazon Dot to turn your lights on and off…..it just doesn’t work that way! By having a central processor or “brain” controlling you automation systems, you are adding an additional level of security to an automation platform than many off-the-shelf DIY kits can’t offer.
This post will highlight some of our experiences with Nest, but it was prompted by the recent announcement from Google. Google announced that they have taken all Nest and Google Home products and services into one group called Google Nest.
If you weren’t aware, Google purchased Nest in 2014 and they have been one company, but they haven’t always operated as combined entities. Hence, that is where some of the biggest confusion came in for homeowners. There has been some confusion over the last few years when you referred to a Google Hub, Nest, Nest Protect, etc. Now, it’s all called Google Nest, simplifying things a bit for the consumer.
Also, a lot of the confusion came from the phrases “Works With Nest” and “Works With Google Assistant.” These phrases are classifications of which third party apps and services worked with different devices. Imagine being in Home Depot one Saturday and trying to figure out if a light bulb you want to buy will work with your smart home.
It’s tough enough deciding on the bulb! The “will this work with my stuff” question only added to people’s frustration with off-the-shelf smart home products. This alone should make you want to visit us; a certified integrator will make your life easier!
Besides some of the most reliable smart home products on the market, Nest has been one of our top picks when people wanted a budget-friendly wifi thermostat.
There are certainly better options out there that offer more features, but you can’t deny the simplicity of the ecosystem, and as we all agree here, it just works. When you add a Nest Protect, the smart smoke detector, you are adding another level of safety and peace of mind for your family.
That was Google’s mission all along: to make smart home technology simpler for the masses and much less complicated for the do-it-yourselfer. As we said, there are options that offer more, but we have many clients that know the name or have had a good experience with Nest in the past and appreciate the ease of use that it offers.
Since we are focused on meeting our clients’ needs, we are happy to offer the complete line of Nest products and Google Assistant services …and now both of those brands fall under one roof with the advent of Google Nest. Starting this August, Google is combining both brands into one platform and migrating all Nest accounts to a Google account.
What does this mean? Well, your life may have just gotten much simpler. Your one Google account is now your gateway to controlling all you Nest products. All current Nest products will become Google Nest. You can read the nitty gritty details on the Google Nest FAQ page here.
As we mentioned above, we trust Google Nest as a smart home platform and we want to tell you the reasons why. Here are the top reason why you can trust Nest:
Google has always led the internet community in securing personal data and online security tools. Now your security will be enhanced further by combining Nest accounts into your more secure Google accounts.
One Developer Platform
One of our challenges as a premiere home integrator is making sure all of our clients’ devices play nicely with each other. This is why we like to keep an entire home on one ecosystem, but sometimes it’s not always possible.
Now, Google Nest will unify and standardize all third party apps to make sure of service and device capability using the new “Works With Google Nest” connection standards. This will ensure that if a device is labeled as working with a Google Nest product, you can be sure it will.
I should clarify here why one platform is so important. Besides devices working nicely together, having a standardized communication platform actually cuts down on security breaches and holes in the system. Google is in control and has created one set of standards for over 3,000 devices to operate.
Now, Google can minimize security and privacy vulnerabilities by having the full force and resources of their development team behind all of the devices working on the platform.
Google’s Commitment To Privacy
Since knowing and understanding home technology is our business, we have had the opportunity to meet and speak with many manufacturers of home automation equipment over the years. It has always been apparent that the Google suite of products had a higher level of privacy controls in place and, in our opinion, took client data privacy much more seriously.
Google has been one of the first to state right on their website their commitment to customer privacy and list in great detail what data they collect and what they do with it. Also, as I am a die-hard Android user, it has always been much easier to control your privacy on an Android device! You can read about Google’s promise to privacy here.
Ads Are Not Part Of The Strategy
No one single statement by any smart home company has more weight than this! Greg Hu, who oversees the Google Nest developer program, has stated many times that delivering ads has never been part of the intention or part of the strategy.
The new standardized developer platform is now also a much tougher place to get accepted. Google Nest has strict requirements when it comes to justifying why a device would need certain permissions (such as location or demographics) when it’s on your network. Google Nest seems to be much more proactive in this realm.
This is not to say that as a Nest user you will never get an email hyping a new Google Nest product. You and I both know that will continue to happen, email marketing is still too powerful. What will not happen is getting multiple emails trying to sell new armor for your Fortnite characters!
You may be reading this article for several reasons and could have happened here totally by chance when you were researching Google Nest security. Let’s state the obvious, if you are really untrusting of any big tech company, surely don’t invite them in to listen to every word you say.
However, it has been our experience, and in many conversations with representatives from Google, that they have only the best intentions when it comes to controlling the temperature in your home and checking who is at the front door.
So, despite some wing-nuts on the internet and rabid conspiracy theories, here at Play Custom Home Technology, we love Google Nest!