A few weeks after moving into our first house last summer, my wife and I bought a Nest thermostat and installed it. It…didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. In fact, it wasn't working right at all.
I had done my homework, too. I had checked and re-checked Nest's compatibility guide, and I even called in to their support, talked to a rep for a bit, and he even had me email him a picture of our current sucky thermostat and the wiring, and gave the green light that Nest was 100% compatible. So I made the order on Amazon and 48 hours later UPS dropped the box off at my front door.
It was super easy to install, but it just wasn't operating correctly. Another call to Nest, a few more pictures of the wiring, and two levels of support later, I had a workaround solution of putting certain wires into differnt terminals on the Nest, and the support rep told me Nest was going to set up a certified tech to come out on their dime and make sure it works right.
Two days later a guy from a local company that was Nest certified came out, and started testing the Nest and my HVAC system. Everything should have been working, so he investigated deeper. Turns out there was a fault in the wiring between the HVAC system and the Nest. The tech pulled out the bad wiring and ran brand new wiring through my basement's suspended ceiling and up the main floor wall.
This was not a problem with the Nest thermostat at all, but Nest footed the bill to make sure it worked. I never found out how much the job costs, but Nest paid it all. I have to imagine it was either close to, or surpassed the $250 I spent on the Nest.
This is right up there in my top 3 best customer support experiences ever. It solidified my love for Nest as a product and as a company.
Fast forward to three days ago when Nest founder Tony Fadell announced Google's acquisition of Nest. When I read it, my heart sank a little. I used to love Google, and for some things, I still think they do an exceptionally great job. But Google got a little weird when their romance with Apple took a turn. Their "don't be evil" moniker started to feel hypocritical in some aspects.
Then Google+ happened, and they became so obsessed with promoting their new social network that they became downright creepy about all the data they have on each person that uses Google services.
So here I have a service that I used to love that went mad with power, and a product/service that I love that just sold out.
Rock, meet hard place.
I have friends seriously considering ripping their Nest off their wall over the news. Let's face it, Google doesn't have the greatest reputation anymore, at least with nerds.
Will I be removing my Nest Thermostat? Not yet. It did cross my mind, though. As silly as it is when folks snark that Google now has the ability to know when you are home, when you're not, what temp you prefer, and the movements you make you're asleep — well, it sounds silly, but I can also see that totally being a reality.
I'm just not ready to give up my Nest yet, especially since there isn't a comparable product to replace it yet. But I'll be keeping an eye on it, since it isn't all that impossible that it may be keeping an eye on me. 1
Funny side story: I named my Nest HAL when I installed it. Seems a little apt, now. ↩