52 points by rntn 10 days ago | 17 comments
advisedwang 10 days ago
I got burned by Google "sunsetting" custom actions on assistant [1]. I'm not trusting Google to keep this open for 3rd parties.

[1] https://developers.google.com/assistant/ca-sunset

afavour 10 days ago
Between this and Google removing the ability for you to use any shopping list other than their own Keep app my Google Home has become little more than a jukebox.
mateus1 10 days ago
I won’t be surprised if they shut down Nest and people find themselves with bricked Carbon Monoxide Sensors…
iFire 10 days ago
I wonder if that's a legal liability with bricked Carbon Monoxide sensors.
mikeyouse 10 days ago
For whatever other issues people are rightly concerned about - when sensors like this 'brick', it's just the weird superfluous cloud features that are turned off and the core functionality still works fine. Though on the smoke detectors, modern code is that they all need to communicate and alarm at once, so depending on how that's architected on the Nest devices, could prove problematic to lose all of that.
Marsymars 10 days ago
Alarm interconnect has to be local; I don't think it would code-compliant anywhere otherwise.

(Even wireless interconnect has only become code-compliant relatively recently - e.g. in my jurisdiction, code has only allowed wireless interconnect since 2019.)

packetlost 10 days ago
That sounds like class-action lawsuit levels of bad.

That being said, I'm actually not that worried about Nest getting killed.

solardev 9 days ago
They already forced a transition through several apps (Google Wifi, Nest, Home) and shut down some product lines (Nest Secure).
Animats 10 days ago
"This is a significant move for Google in opening up its smart home platform, following shutting down its Works with Nest program back in 2019."

Unless it will continue to work after Google discontinues the product[1], no way.

Related dead Google products:

- Nest Secure

- Google Home Max

If it's not about ads, Google will kill it.

[1] https://killedbygoogle.com/

10 days ago
MostlyStable 10 days ago
Unless they are

1) literally open sourcing their software so that it can be installed on generic hardware

2) altering it so that it does not rely on cloud servers (having it able to use cloud servers is fine as long as local is also an option.

then I would still not let this anywhere near my home.

Cloud only, closed options for "smart" homes are anything but. They are a suckers bet designed to separate you from your money and generate e-waste.

ethbr1 10 days ago
Best case: Google loses interest and and creates yet another replacement API, so someone can get a promotion.

Worst case: Google division needs revenue and decides to extract revenue after obtaining market share.

IMHO, the entire home IoT market desperately needs federal minimum mandates, strictly from a cyber security perspective.

   - Cloud functionality optional
   - Firmware user update-able
   - Source released if vendor stops support
cchance 10 days ago
I mean or people smarten up and just use home assistant and hardware thats open, people buy into closed market cloud shit because its easy ... as long as people keep buying the shit taht gets sunsetted eventually it will continue to be sold.
mrandish 10 days ago
I actually think we're pretty much there. Much like consumer ink jet printer ink, enough people have been burned that it's now increasingly common knowledge.
ethbr1 10 days ago
I always assume people, in general, will shoot themselves in their future foot to save a penny.

Most people don't even know Home Assistant exists.

Or, probably more relevant at this point, most contractors building houses.

mrandish 10 days ago
I agree most people don't know about Home Assistant and open ecosystem alternatives yet. I think right now most people are just wary of these Google, Amazon, Samsung, Apple (GASA) offerings and aren't adopting anything at scale beyond a few point-to-point automations.

I think (hope?) this growing wariness will deflate GASA attempts to turn proprietary home automation hubs into ongoing revenue streams. Then GASA will eventually give up on home automation when it doesn't deliver the growth metrics they want. Let's face it, none of GASA can ever be trusted as the central gatekeeper in any ecosystem they want to own for downstream monetization (whether that's ads, subscription or selling customer data).

By adopting the open Matter protocol, GASA has already given up making the inpoint and outpoint hardware proprietary (sensors, switches, plugs, etc). Instead, with Matter they're intentionally commoditizing that low-margin end of the business for Shenzen's-finest to fight over. BTW, the Matter protocol is net positive for the open ecosystem because it creates more inpoints and outpoints that are Home Assistant compatible. With the other commercial players now commoditized, GASA's goal is to just be the central cloud gatekeeper and they're content to fight each other over it. Except Home Assistant exists, is already big and is gaining even more momentum.

To be clear, I have no illusion that Home Assistant will somehow "Win" over GASA offerings. Open source platforms don't "beat" proprietary platforms in head-to-head consumer market battles, they outlive them as the only stable, sane choice still standing. I think GASA will fight each other to a standstill, preventing any one of them from gaining the dominance or lock-in they need for home automation to be a GASA-scale 'platform pillar'. Eventually they'll realize it's not strategically "core" enough, give up and move on - leaving Home Assistant as the free, open "still-works, always-worked" default central gateway.

kentonv 10 days ago
I wish Google would open up the ability for open source software to act like a Chromecast device, so that all the Chromecast-enabled apps could cast to it.

The basic UX of casting video from an app on my phone is the way I want to control my screens, and every application you care about supports it. But only Chromecast devices are allowed to be the server. And Chromecast devices don't do the things I want them to. I want to attach a PC to my screen instead, but still be able to cast videos to it from all the apps that support Chromecast.

Unfortunately it's locked down with certificates and such, so it's impossible to create a Chomecast-compatible device without Google's blessing (or someone leaking the keys).

Is this because of piracy concerns? But almost all of these apps have in-browser versions that do work on regular PCs. And there is HDCP and whatnot. I don't care about being able to access the video stream itself, I just care about being able to customize the UX around it...

hawski 10 days ago
I had Chromecast 2 for a couple of years. For some time now when you cast YouTube it shows this TV "app" (instead of a static image) that urges you to log in. But you can't, because Chromecast 2 is not supported. I pay for YouTube Premium and if I would use the interface as they present they will show me ads and pester to log in, when they know it doesn't work.

I bought a 4k projector a few months ago and bought Chromecast 4k thinking it is just a Chromecast for UHD, but the Google TV thing in it is something I don't like. The remote is also silly, because it is too symmetrical. It often happens that one grabs it upside down and wonder why it doesn't work. The remote doesn't support my soundbar, so the volume buttons do nothing instead of just doing software volume as before. If it could at least learn the codes.

Now I start to feel that the best experience for me would be to use a ChromeOS device (i.e. a Chromebox) and create an Android app that would appear in share menus for URLs and Chrome extension, that would open sent URLs. There could be a bit more goodies to that. ChromeOS supports Android apps, but also Linux apps and services so it can run emulators, Syncthing and different media servers. At the same time you can watch Netflix on full quality. The only thing it doesn't support is optical media. ChromeOS devices can be cheap and good enough, so the EoL dates (which they prolong quite often) are not scary.

ChromeOS so far is one of the things from Google which keeps getting better.

mrandish 10 days ago
It's amazing to me that there's no simple, built-in way to wirelessly display my Windows laptop to my TV so it just looks like I've connected an HDMI cable (minus some slight lag and compression artifacts). Instead every built-in casting method I've tried (chromecast, miracast, etc) looks like hell, the whites are blown out, the colors are inaccurate and the aspect ratio is off. And this is on a 4K HDR10 TV with 100% of a >1GBps, low latency 5 GHz connection. It's bad enough that I don't use wireless and instead keep a long HDMI cable coiled up behind the TV for when I need to connect the laptop.

I assume there must be some Windows program + side-loadable app that's high-quality, low-latency and actually looks like the laptop screen connected via HDMI. Would appreciate any recommendations...

kevincox 10 days ago
I wonder this a lot. Often times I am taking a break from my computer to cook or whatever and feel like in 2023 I should be able to just move the video I was watching to my TV, or the audio to the networked speaker in the kitchen.

There are solutions to this, but all proprietary with limited support across different devices.

mrandish 10 days ago
Currently, I don't connect the laptop and instead view the content via a side-loaded app on the streaming stick connected to the TV (either Fire TV or Google TV depending on the room).

* If it's content on my local server I use Kodi local.

* If it's streaming content I use a Kodi plug-in for the streaming service.

* If it's YouTube I use the SmartTube app (which is fantastic and actually makes YouTube usable again). It's easy to just go to History in SmartTube and pick up wherever I was on laptop/desktop.

jauntywundrkind 8 days ago
Google has to promise to do some kind of service-providing API when they landed Presentation API (2015) to let the web talk to Chromecast devices.

There's Open Screen Protocol doing just that. https://github.com/w3c/openscreenprotocol

Worth mentioning, Netflix+YouTube's DIAL protocol (2013) also wasn't bad. I haven't given it much of a look but Matter Cast protocol is out there. It seems far more limited, and only can run specific apps on specific devices? Glowing review recently but seems like junk to me; platform agnostic actually seems to mean devices hosting only specific apps. https://www.theverge.com/2024/5/10/24153556/fire-tv-amazon-m...

surajrmal 10 days ago
I'm going to guess it's about ensuring a good experience. Miracast (and a number of other technologies) have shown how varied the user experience can be if there are many different implementations. It's easier to compete on quality with apple's airplay this way. This isn't to say it's not possible to achieve this via other means, but that's probably more costly with little upside.
patmorgan23 10 days ago
Chromecast don't use Miracast 99% of the time. The content provider builds and publishes a client app for the chromecast that gets downloaded and will download and play the content directly, it does not bounce through your phone first.

The expectation being if you're casting local content/screens, then it's probably Miracast.

iFire 10 days ago
So my home will be useless in 4 years given the turnover of Google products.
mrandish 10 days ago
I use the open source Home Assistant software as the hub, keep everything local on my network and only buy devices that can use non-cloud, open protocols. This is the only way to ensure you keep control and won't someday get sold out or bricked.

The open ecosystem around smart home has matured a lot in the last couple of years and Home Assistant now has millions of active users. There are also a wide variety of inexpensive sensors, switches, plugs, etc which come pre-installed with open source firmware like Tasmota and EspHome (example: https://www.athom.tech/tasmota). You won't find them at Best Buy or local stores but they're plentiful on Amazon, EBay and, of course, AliExpress.

To the extent companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and Samsung choose to support open, local-first standards I'll consider their devices as input and output nodes, however, I'll never let them be the central controller. There are now enough savvy open-only, local-first users that many of the Shenzen-based device makers have realized it's a profitable market segment and have given up trying to enforce their cloud-based apps. So we now have plenty of alternatives to the companies who only want users to be subscribers or eyeballs for ads.

jra_samba 10 days ago
Amen to this. I recall the original Western Digital WD TV Media Player.

https://www.cnet.com/reviews/western-digital-wd-tv-media-pla...

Used to attach to a local NAS. Swiftly knee-caped to do "streaming only" and thus became utterly dependent on third-party services.

I'd recommend the OSMC Vero as the only good replacement for it:

https://osmc.tv/vero/

solardev 10 days ago
Not just Google, but the manufacturers themselves can often abandon product lines, or inadvertently break integrations with updates, or purposely stop a partnership, etc. (like Sonos's years-long feud with Google over smart products). The ecosystem is as fragmented as Android, or worse.

I was all-in on the smarthome fad a few years ago, but so many things kept breaking that it just wasn't worth the complexity anymore. I went back to a mostly-dumb home setup again and things just work now, lol.

packetlost 10 days ago
I've been happy with the stuff that is supported by Home Assistant. We really just need open protocols/standards and for manufacturers to stick to them.

Unfortunately there's not much incentive for them to do that.

loudmax 10 days ago
Getting my Nest thermostat to work with Home Assistant was a lot of work. I had to register a developer account and authorize obscure permissions deep inside some Google permissions structure. I suppose if it's all straightforward you habitually develop on Google's infrastructure, but as an outsider none of it was clear.

Still, better than nothing. Hoping that Google actually stays committed this time.

Marsymars 10 days ago
By far the easiest way to integrate Nest products into a non-Google Home-based setup is with a Starling Home Hub. Starling integrates either directly to HomeKit, or to Home Assistant via HomeKit Controller.
isatty 10 days ago
Been on HomeKit and devices compatible with it for >5 years and I’ve not had any issues except maybe when there was the migration to thread(?).
solardev 10 days ago
Is HomeKit the Apple version? I feel like they're much better about their integrations than Google's PC-like OEM strategy.
__MatrixMan__ 10 days ago
I hope that some parts of your home remain useful, but if google pulling support makes the stuff in your home suddenly useless, then you didn't really own that stuff to begin with.
bhhaskin 10 days ago
Fool me once Google.... You have completely lost my trust as a brand and company.
bastardoperator 10 days ago
^This.
oldandboring 10 days ago
Most comments here rightfully touch on how Google will likely sunset this product after the teams that built it get hollowed out and they realize it generates no ad revenue. Almost definitely true.

I wish to add that the entire home automation landscape is a total clusterf**. It's an indecipherable mess of competing and overlapping standards, protocols, ecosystems amid a sea of players constantly joining and leaving the market, introducing and sunsetting their products. It's extremely difficult to find one solution that solves all your home automation and security needs. Then DIY'ers start adding things like Homeassistant into the mix to "tie it all together", which really is not practical for the average consumer.

Right now I have probably 8 to 10 different apps on my phone for remote controlling thermostats, security systems, and doorbell cams.

add-sub-mul-div 10 days ago
I agree, and I refuse to use anything more complicated or expensive than a few smart plugs and bulbs.

More importantly, I refuse to let myself get into the mindest that a thermostat is something I need to control from an app, or that I need video from my front door. Once I let myself expect those things, I'm at the mercy of shitty products, integration, and surveillance.

oldandboring 9 days ago
Yeah but it's a game changer if you have a second home.
debacle 10 days ago
I have a set of Toshiba speakers that use some Google protocol (chromecast?) to interact with Google Home.

When I bought the speakers, they worked flawlessly. Then Google updated Home so that you need to use the feature in app (so you can't stream YouTube audio without paying for YouTube). Then they updated it to make it more invasive. Then, after an update about a year ago, Google Home would consistently lose my devices, forget them, and in one instance it bricked one and I still haven't been able to reconnect it.

I don't trust Google for this. I have bought no-name Chinese brands with sideloading APKs that have been 100 times more reliable and enjoyable to use than Google.

fidotron 10 days ago
Can we install alternatives to Google Home on our Google TVs and use those to control our homes? Or does it have magic special permissions like everything else?

Smart TVs (including Google TV) are the single biggest security and privacy train wreck in most households. This is only going to make that a lot worse, which is the whole idea.

tracker1 10 days ago
I've got a few ShieldTV boxes, only because they satisfy the "apps" method to view content as well as good support for Kodi with SMB/CIFS shares and most modern media encoding. DIY options mostly suck and don't support high resolution streaming services well.

The game is pretty rigged and it all sucks. I have one home device (the little puck) setup to work with a chromecast audio in the same room for playing music. But they discontinued chromecast audio devices, which I think were pretty great.

xnx 10 days ago
WirelessGigabit 10 days ago
Does that mean I can talk with my Nest Thermostat without paying $5?

Edit: yes, seemingly. Good, now I can get rid of my Honeywell/Resideo thermostats that came with the house.

If you ever had a Nest (one that learns how long it takes to heat up a room and preemptively shuts down heating) you'll never want a dumb one afterwards.

brnt 10 days ago
That sounds like what any old bimetal based 'thermostat' knob does, doesn't it?
stuff4ben 10 days ago
Make it truly open source and maybe I'll look into it. I've lost all trust in Google products and services. One reason I'll never switch to Google Fiber over AT&T Fiber.
pibefision 10 days ago
I lost trust on Google B2C products. Specially in the upcoming war on AI, even GCP seems compromised on future investments to match Azure or AWS in terms of products.
mmmlinux 10 days ago
How about open up my nest so I can have local API access.
danans 10 days ago
I don't understand why Google TV doesn't have a Home app by default, like you get on Pixel phones.
solardev 10 days ago
Can you use this to replace Hey Google with ChatGPT?
kalupa 10 days ago
i think you and google have a different idea of what "open" really means
tremon 10 days ago
It's "open" as in "OpenAI", right?
pimlottc 10 days ago
It refers to your wallet, right?
guluarte 10 days ago
2026: Google discontinues home hub