Back in May, Google announced that all Nest accounts will eventually be migrated to Google accounts. Fast forward to present day and “eventually” is now here: This week Google made the account migration path available, although it’s not yet a requirement. If you want to wait for an invitation to migrate your Nest account, you can.
I have multiple Google and Nest products in my home: three smart displays, a Nest Hello doorbell, the Nest x Yale front door lock, and four Google Home speakers. So I figured I might as well run through the Nest account migration process. I also figured that Google and Nest already have gobs of my information so the two entities would do most of the heavy lifting.
Boy was I wrong, which is truly a disappointment considering the big theme at this year’s Google I/O event and at CES was that the company’s Assistant and Home products wanted to be “helpful’.
Here’s a rundown of the steps, which Google outlined in a video it provided with the account migration announcement:
- Open your Nest app, click the Settings icon, tap Account and select the “Migrate to a Google account” option.
- Click the “Continue with Google” button.
- Choose the Google account to use and select the “Allow” button so that Nest can access your Google account.
- Disconnect Works with Nest from the old account. This step will show you what current Works with Nest integrations you have. I took a screenshot of this step so I know what integrations I may have to replace in the future.
- Create a “new unified Google Nest home, then invite members to join.” Note that this step mentions that members using Nest x Yale locks (like me) will get a new entry passcode but they can change that to their previous passcode after account migration. And they won’t be able to unlock the door until they migrate their accounts. The migration app recommends creating a Home Entry Only passcode so they don’t get locked out prior to account migration. If they accept the invite and migrate their account, they’ll be fine but until then? Guess they’re ringing the doorbell!
- Read the scary-sounding message about “how access to your home is changing”. Essentially, all Google Nest Home members have “the same level of access and control as you.” I guess my family can digitally evict me from the smart home now if they so choose, which is concerning, particularly if kids in the home can administer the smart home.
- Send invites for the new Google Nest Home to your family members.
- Review the updated privacy policies, which is always a good idea
- Click the “Complete Migration” button.
If you previously used any Amazon Echo devices with Alexa to voice control a Nest Thermostat or Nest Cam, there’s one more step. Since the new Google Nest Home account breaks any Works with Nest integrations, you’ll need to add a new skill to bring Alexa voice control back to your Nest products. I skipped that step because I only use Echo devices for testing purposes.
As mentioned earlier, both Google and Nest already have so much information about our homes: What devices we have, who has access to them, and what integrations are enabled. So why all of the integration disconnections, the new family member invites and even – at least in my case – new front door passcodes? This is not “helpful” for smart home owners.
I’m sure there are technical, if not even legal, reasons for having customers jump through all of these hoops. Even so, the customer experience here is clunky and seems unnecessarily complex. Even more so if your family already has Google accounts: They should just get a notice that Nest will be added to those accounts, along with some information on why and what it means, and then a button to accept the change.
I realize that Nest was its own company that Google purchased in 2014. And Nest later became an entity under Alphabet, just as Google is, only to be absorbed by Google in 2018. But this type of account migration experience after five years of Google and Nest being under the same roof is telling.
Google spent $3.2 billion on Nest with what it thought at the time would be a smart strategic play but the strategy either wasn’t clear or simply changed every so often. Perhaps now that Google Nest Home is just another extension of a Google account, this is the final strategy.