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Nest Announces New Smart Home API

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the looking-forward-to-a-cloud-based-toaster dept.

Google 38

mpicpp writes "Today, in advance of Google I/O, Nest has officially announced a new developer program and API that will allow other companies' smart devices to communicate with Nest's Protect smoke alarm and Learning Thermostat. Among the companies that Nest is partnering with for this initial publicity push are IFTTT, Jawbone, LIFX, Logitech, Mercedes-Benz, Whirlpool, Chamberlain, and Google itself—the latter two companies will release Nest-compatible features this fall, while the others are all available today.

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Looked at the IFTTT integration (4, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 3 months ago | (#47312251)

When I looked at it earlier today, it was rather lacking. No ability to set your Home or Away status and no ability to control temperatures for people who set both an upper and lower bound rather than a single temperature. Ended up being a rather disappointing update from a user's perspective. From a developer's perspective, it was pretty meh. It's just what you'd expect, and not much more.

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Rase: Looked at the IFTTT integration (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 3 months ago | (#47314431)

I have a Carrier Infinity thermostat and you can program anything remotely as well as view all the setting and programs.

Re:Looked at the IFTTT integration (1)

ygslash (893445) | about 3 months ago | (#47314451)

As far as I can see, the main innovation here seems to be that Google is throwing their corporate weight at the patents that have been keeping the home automation market in a choke-hold for almost two decades.

Soon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47312259)

Google will be so far up my ass it will be staring at the back of my teeth.

But will it work with HomeKit? (1)

ObiWanKenblowme (718510) | about 3 months ago | (#47312265)

If it's compatible with the iOS framework then I'll probably cave and get one.

Re:But will it work with HomeKit? (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 3 months ago | (#47312291)

HomeKit? I just Googled it and I wonder what they're going to do about the various companies called HomeKit around the world... my second result was www.homekit.co.nz

Re:But will it work with HomeKit? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 3 months ago | (#47313589)

Meh. Both Google and Apple are in a good position to improve standards, products and especially the usability of software related to Smart Homes. But both companies are a day late and a dollar short. They are still trying to get remote control right, which is merely the first step towards a smart home, and even in that space their efforts are anything but impressive. The real challenge is to come up with a good and simple to use control center, going from remote control to true home automation. Both companies thus far appear to have the wrong vision on that, if they have one at all (IFTTT, seriously...). There are already a lot of players in this space, and more than one newcomer currently gathering funds on Kickstarter.

Personally I tend to agree with the vision statement of the OpenHAB project. They aim to be a "hub of hubs", with the idea that there's no way in hell that anyone will come up with a hub or even a standard to serve everyone's needs, and keep up with all imaginable devices, of all brands, in all countries. So you'd use several hubs as a communications layer, tie them together with OpenHAB, and put the intelligence there.

Re:But will it work with HomeKit? (1)

plover (150551) | about 3 months ago | (#47314137)

I already have a Z-wave hub for interfacing with home control devices, an AssureLink hub to interface with a Craftsman device, and a Harmony hub to blink IR at the entertainment devices. The Z-wave hub sits on my network, and I can access it directly. The AssureLink hub provides an interface only via their cloud, and can be accessed either from a browser or their smartphone app. The Harmony hub supposedly is Z-wave compatible, but in reality has no external connectivity at all, and pairs only with their remote. My Honeywell thermostat talks only to their cloud, and my Samsung appliances will provide a local interface only to their smartphone app. OpenHAB would be like magic if it could pull all these diverse boxes together.

However, the added complexity means troubleshooting will be an even bigger nightmare. Let's say the Z-wave controlled garage light isn't coming on when the garage door opens. Is the problem in the door opening controller, the AssureLink hub, the local network, the internet connection, Craftsman's cloud, the OpenHAB system, the Z-wave hub, the Z-wave's mesh network routing, the Z-wave light controller, or the bulb itself? The complexity is already outlandish, and the reliability of the mesh network is very poor - adding more complexity will not help it get better. At this point it's not worth even trying to integrate these devices, even though I'd like to.

And I understand what's going on - imagine someone who just pays an installer to plop an integrated box in front of them. They're going to get used to lots of disappointment.

Re:But will it work with HomeKit? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47316195)

Meh. Both Google and Apple are in a good position to improve standards, products and especially the usability of software related to Smart Homes.

So, one small step for technology ... one giant leap backwards for your privacy?

Sorry, but no way in hell I'd trust Google with this kind of link into my home.

Re:But will it work with HomeKit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47317345)

Nest was conspicuously absent from Apple's presentation on HomeKit where they list the companies they were working with. Probably due to Google ownership, and in spite of the Nest founder's strong ties to Apple.

http://dqbasmyouzti2.cloudfront.net/content/images/articles/homekit-partners.jpg [cloudfront.net]

Rather uninteresting API. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47312281)

Here's the API reference. [nest.com] It doesn't let you see or do much. I though the Nest was supposed to "learn" your behavior patterns, but if it does, that info isn't exposed in the API. You can look at the temperature and heat/cool/fan status, and maybe change the setpoints. You can tell if someone is home, and when they set the time for when they were coming back.

This isn't an API for the device. It's an API for a Google-hosted service that controls the device. Google is in total control of your home.

Re:Rather uninteresting API. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47313799)

Of course. That's their idea. Stay away from this.

Re:Rather uninteresting API. (1)

nblender (741424) | about 3 months ago | (#47315239)

this is my fundamental problem with this sort of thing. You buy a smart-device and the first thing it wants is to authenticate with some cloud service... I understand it's easier to deal with firewalls and such if the device 'polls' the cloud for remote commands... But what if my home is out in the middle of the forest, miles from anything resembling internet connectivity... That's a home I want automated more than the home I sleep in the other 5 days a week.

Re:Rather uninteresting API. (1)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47317647)

But what if my home is out in the middle of the forest, miles from anything resembling internet connectivity... That's a home I want automated more than the home I sleep in the other 5 days a week.

Right. Reporting is from buildings that are mostly unoccupied is really useful. Industrial facilities have used that for decades - unattended pumping stations, power substations, water level gauges, and storage buildings with air conditioning routinely phone home. They usually have very limited bandwidth - pager channels are often used. Usually, they send a message every few minutes with a few numbers and an "I'm fine" message. If there's trouble, they start sending alarm messages. This is the real, existing "Internet of Things", but it's called "M2M" (machine to machine) in the industry. Two-way pager channels, cellular-based pagers, and two way satellite links are used. So your pipeline pumping station can phone home from Outer Nowhere, or you can keep track of what the irrigation pumps on the far side of your farm are doing, or your vacation cabin can check in.

Re:Rather uninteresting API. (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 3 months ago | (#47317327)

It's an API for a Google-hosted service that controls the device.

Apparently, its (still) amazon (that doesn't change its bad):

$ dig home.nest.com

[...] ;; ANSWER SECTION:
home.nest.com. 120 IN CNAME home-hme01-production-526484131.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com.
home-hme01-production-526484131.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com. 60 IN A 54.235.188.46
home-hme01-production-526484131.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com. 60 IN A 184.72.232.126
home-hme01-production-526484131.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com. 60 IN A 54.225.207.213

Calling all advertisers calling all advertisers (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47312287)

Just what I want......get Google integrated all through the house and then once they get you locked in then Advertisements on everything! Sorry not happening here!

Re:Calling all advertisers calling all advertisers (0)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47312371)

this is the most controversial issue, yet wasn't even touched in the summary cuz of the fantards.

Who gives a shit? (1, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about 3 months ago | (#47312413)

Its a thermostat. When I'm cold, I'll walk over and turn it up. When I'm warm, I'll walk over and turn it down. I don't need it to be internet enabled, and don't want the annoyance of some bug or exploit fiddling with it. Not everything needs to be set from your smartphone. It may make sense for a large warehouse or office building, but there's 0 point in a home device.

Re:Who gives a shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47312459)

Its a thermostat. When I'm cold, I'll walk over and turn it up. When I'm warm, I'll walk over and turn it down. I don't need it to be internet enabled, and don't want the annoyance of some bug or exploit fiddling with it. Not everything needs to be set from your smartphone. It may make sense for a large warehouse or office building, but there's 0 point in a home device.

I can't even figure out why you'd want it in an office or warehouse either. Connecting this stuff to the internet is borderline retarded.

Re:Who gives a shit? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 3 months ago | (#47312503)

Mainly so that the owner can monitor it remotely in case of problems. But even then it probably makes more sense to set it once and have it sms maintenance if something goes out of range.

Re:Who gives a shit? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 months ago | (#47312795)

While connecting it to the internet might be a mistake, your thermostat is just as bad. It is only one step above having an on/off switch on your heater. Having programmable thermostats that can be set to turn down the heat when people are asleep, or even more importantly, away at work/school has saved huge amounts of energy and money. HVAC is terribly behind the tech curve on saving even more energy and money while improving the comfort and convenience to the user. Technology that makes our lives more convenient is a good thing.

Re:Who gives a shit? (2)

AuMatar (183847) | about 3 months ago | (#47313001)

Yeah, don't really care. The cost of heating/cooling doesn't bother me, being comfortable is more than worth. It'd end up in manual override mode over 90% of the time anyway. But my comment was more towards making it internet connected with a web API than with programming it to turn off for a few hours during work.

Re:Who gives a shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47313109)

How very sustainable of you.

Re:Who gives a shit? (2)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 3 months ago | (#47313127)

Yeah, don't really care. The cost of heating/cooling doesn't bother me...

I think that's where others will disagree -- heating/cooling costs in the colder/hotter cities (in the US, at least) can be well into the hundreds of dollars per month. (And that doesn't include any environmental aspect, which it sounds like you don't care about either.) For some, a) saving money and b) running at a lower energy footprint is worth having an internet-connected thermostat.

Plus, there could be small advantages to it, as well -- driving back from the airport on a winter night, you could turn on the heat so it's nice and toasty when you get back. Sure, if this thing ends up being a security nightmare, I agree -- not worth it. But everyone's assuming this thing will be hacked instantly and cause nothing but trouble when, AFAIK, that's just speculation.

Re:Who gives a shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47313223)

You would think so, however, I have replaced manual thermostats on my radiators, with cheap programmable ones. I have set up individual settings for each room. So bedroom is a little warmer throughout the day and cools off at night for comfortable sleep. My work room is cool throughout the day and warm between 18:00 and 24:00, and so on. I have not touched these thermostats for over a year now and it is always comfortable temperature in the apartment. What is even better is that I just got my heating usage report and compared to previous year, it is almost 50% down. Obviously, it might not be that expensive in some parts of the world, but in northern europe it saves a lot.

Allow "None" (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 3 months ago | (#47312433)

I would certainly hope that is their devices default. Yes, I know most people will just give whatever permissions are requested, but that would at least give a few of a chance.

Just great... (0)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | about 3 months ago | (#47312547)

Now hackers can focus on ONE API to place their pop-up ads inside your house, in your picture frame, on your refrigerator door. OR I can just see shady repair shops driving by your house with a device that disables your thermostat, then send someone to your door just in the nick of time, offering to fix it!

Re:Just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47312595)

Now hackers can focus on ONE API to place their pop-up ads inside your house, in your picture frame, on your refrigerator door. OR I can just see shady repair shops driving by your house with a device that disables your thermostat, then send someone to your door just in the nick of time, offering to fix it!

Don't be silly. That's illegal.

Alternatives? (1)

xfizik (3491039) | about 3 months ago | (#47312641)

I've been thinking about getting a Nest, but I'm getting a bit paranoid about privacy and stuff. Are there any decent alternatives?

Re:Alternatives? (1)

bluelip (123578) | about 3 months ago | (#47312701)

DIY. Grab an Atmel AVR, some relays, and a router/AP that you can get to the serial port on and have at it. Nothing overly complicated.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 3 months ago | (#47313095)

Seconded! I did a similar thing with a little ARM board, it was a really fun project.

I can control (on/off) household electronics via a keypad, Jabber/XMPP, shell-script, or SMS (via Google Voice's SMS email forwarding feature). Security measures are very weak (checking calling number/XMPP handle, etc. against authorized users), but hey...if someone really wants to turn on my lamp in the middle of the night, I'll just write something better =)

Re:Alternatives? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47312759)

Bring back slavery. Instruct Jim to have the fire hot when massa' wake up in da mawnin. Else deh be a whippin'.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47316077)

You know, a decent programmable thermostat which you can program with your schedule (mine has "Wake", "Leave", "Return", and "Sleep"), control the fan and the like isn't that expensive or difficult to use.

Mine is also supposed to be adaptive, and learn how much it takes to change the temperature at various times of day. If the next scheduled temperature change is getting close and it's way off, it will start doing things in advance of that.

If you really really need to do it from your smartphone, then I'm sure pretty much all of the products will have privacy issues. Because your data is available to an external entity, and they're all going to want to make money off that information.

To me, a programmable thermostat is a viable alternative, but I have no interest in controlling the temp from my cell phone or providing Google with the information about how I heat my home and when I'm there.

Pinocchio's futurastic abode (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 3 months ago | (#47312951)

Surprise surprise entire API controlled from Google servers.

Re:Pinocchio's futurastic abode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47313143)

It is not at all impossible to create open source Nest server, in fact, I'm sure eventually it will happen if this gets very popular. Bottom line is that people cannot trust corporations to control the devices inside their homes, nor are there any guarantees these services are available ten years from now. People must be able to run their own server, their own cloud, if they so choose, in their own home.

What about droids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47315777)

Star Wars had a different paradigm - you had a droid which implemented the logic, and you took it with you. Each system was a SCADA-like industrial system controlled by the droid. If you wanted your thermostat on, you told you droid to do it. There was no "cloud" and you could customize your droid to learn your behavior, plus take it with you when you moved because the droid could interface with any system. Star Wars didn't need a "cloud" central tracking database. Had they learned a lesson we have yet to learn?

Big data, getting into your world? (1)

marcgvky (949079) | about 3 months ago | (#47319459)

People, please think before you rush to buy this stuff. I can assure you that your data WILL BE SOLD to the utilities and by government agencies to regulate you into the stone age... or the EPA will reach into your living room and "help you green the house" by switching your HVAC off. It's really dumb.
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