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Your WeMo Switches finally work with Nest

Two years after the launch of the Works with Nest program, Belkin's WeMo line of smart switches are jumping on board.

The Alphabet-owned Nest Learning Thermostat might be the highest profile smart home gadget on the market, but Belkin's WeMo line of smart switches isn't too much further down the list. Now, a day before this year's Google I/O developer conference gets underway, Belkin is announcing that the two will work together by way of the Works with Nest initiative.

It's a headline you might have expected to see back in 2014, when Nest's developer program originally launched. Since that time, the list of Nest-compatible devices has grown to include Internet-enabled locks, lights, appliances and more. Belkin's smart plugs and switches, which you can toggle on and off from an app, have always been a notable omission -- in spite of the fact that competing smart plugs from brands like iHome and Zuli have long enjoyed Nest compatibility.

Original WeMo vs. WeMo Insight Switch

The Belkin WeMo Switch and WeMo Insight Switch.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

That changes today. With the Nest integration, you'll be able to get your WeMo gear in rhythm with your thermostat. Primarily, that means telling your switches to turn on or off automatically as Nest detects you coming and going. You'll also be able to view and control your thermostat straight from the WeMo app.

That last bit marks the debut of thermostat controls within the WeMo app, widening its appeal as a smart home control point. It also speaks to a broader smart home trend, with apps designed to control one product working to add in controls for compatible third-party products, as well.

That trend might have something to do with recent struggles in the smart hub category. Just since April, we've seen an erosion of developer support for Samsung's SmartThings platform, some signs that the end may be near for Staples Connect, and the death of the Revolv Hub, which Nest Labs bought in 2014 and now says it won't support. With smart hubs tanking left and right, standalone devices are picking up the slack.

WeMo's integration with Nest is set to arrive via app update later today, and will extend to both the original WeMo Switch and the energy-tracking WeMo Insight Switch, as well as the hardwired WeMo Light Switch and the DIY-focused WeMo Maker Kit. Belkin made no mention of support for WeMo's line of smart LED light bulbs, though it wouldn't be the first time they got left out.

I asked about the the apparent lack of LED support, and a Belkin representative cited differences in engineering, and pointed to the fact that WeMo LEDs broadcast using a Zigbee radio instead of the Wi-Fi radios used by the WeMo Switches. That's not the strongest explanation, given that other Zigbee-based light bulbs -- most notably the Philips Hue line of LEDs -- have worked with Nest and with other third-party platforms for years now.