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Smart Home

Google wants you to migrate your Nest account: Here's what you need to know

Nest and Google joined up under a single brand at Google I/O, and that means changes.

google-nest-hub-max-smart-home

Use the new Nest Hub Max to control your Google Nest smart home gadgets. 

Juan Garzon / CNET

Nest and the Google smart home team have joined together into a single brand, aptly named Google Nest. Google announced the change on Tuesday at Google I/O as the company debuted the jointly produced Nest Hub Max -- a smart display with a Nest Cam ($199 at Walmart). As part of the change, Nest customers will be asked to convert their Nest accounts into Google accounts.

The joined brand makes sense, given that Nest and the Google smart home team have been working together since last year. Smart displays, smart speakers, Chromecast ($55 at eBay) streamers, Google Wi-Fi products and all of Nest's old gadgets -- including thermostats and cameras -- will fall under the new umbrella of Google Nest. Along with the joined brand, Google even dropped the price of a few smart home gadgets.

Longtime Nest customers might find the change the most daunting. Your Nest account won't be going away and you'll still be able to use the Nest app -- at least for now. Google hasn't announced any plans to get rid of either yet, but you'll be strongly encouraged to move from a Nest account to a Google account in the near future.

Nest accounts will move into a maintenance mode and only get security updates, while new features will be reserved for Google accounts. Google hasn't released specific instructions yet for how you'll actually convert accounts. I'd imagine those will surface over the next few months as Google begins its push for merged accounts.

You still can't set up many Nest devices -- including the Nest Cam and Nest Learning thermostat ($217 at Amazon) -- with the Google Home app, so hopefully that functionality will be in place before Google starts shifting customers away from the Nest app. Outside of setup, you can already control Nest devices using the Google Home app, though security alerts for the Nest Cam are delivered via Nest. Even the Nest Cam in the new Hub Max will use the Nest app for alerts, so Google has some work to do to port everything over.

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In the meantime, Google Nest released an FAQ addressing the questions of Nest customers. Here are the biggest takeaways.

Works with Nest is going away

It will officially shut down on Aug. 31, 2019. Developers will be encouraged to join the similar Works with Google Assistant program, which allows third party devices to be controlled through voice commands or the Google Home app.

If you have devices connected to your smart home through Works with Nest, those connections will be severed as soon as you convert accounts. If you don't convert accounts, those connections will stop working on Aug. 31.

Note that Works with Nest offered developers an open API to control Nest smart home gadgets. Works with Assistant is different in this regard, as it allows devices to work through Google Assistant, but not as the controller. Developers can check out Actions on Google Smart Home to integrate their device and create new commands.

Your homes will be unified

When you convert from Nest to Google, you'll be asked if the home in your Nest app matches any you've already created in the Google Home app. Once you've synced or created your home under your Google account, you'll need to use the Google Home app for maintenance of your "unified home."

You'll still be able to control Nest devices in the Nest app, and you'll be able to control most Nest devices and all Google devices in the Google Home app after you convert accounts. But you can only change the home itself and add or remove members using the Google Home app.

Your family members can delete you

One big change for Nest customers: You won't be limit what members of your household can do. Once you unify homes, any member of your Nest home will have full access to all of your devices and settings. You'll be able to add and remove people from your home, but they'll also be able to remove you. Be careful who you add. When you convert, you'll be asked which family members you'd like to bring to your new unified home.

If you're a family member -- as opposed to an owner -- of a Nest home, you can migrate to a Google account while keeping access to the Nest home. It won't be converted until the owner makes the change, at which point you'll get an invite to the new unified home if they send you one.

Your subscriptions will remain intact 

You won't see a disruption in service for premium services such as Nest Aware. After you convert, you'll need to use the Google store to make changes and buy new subscriptions. If you don't convert, you'll continue managing your subscriptions through Nest.

Your data will transfer to Google

You can decide what you want to share, but Google collects data from most devices for the sake of improving services. Google says it won't sell your information to advertisers. 

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