Google reaches into customers' homes and bricks their gadgets

Dunno that I can blame them for that.

When I bought a Withings weigh scale that could send information to my iPhone, it was a reasonable assumption that the two would communicating directly. There was no mention that they communicated only through a server in France.


I guess they decided to take the “Rip the band-aid off” approach to this.

Sounds like Cory should have a word with @frauenfelder, who recently gushed on these very pages about the Glowforge, a laser cutter (misleadingly marketed as a “3D laser printer”) that suffers from these very same limitations. Cut the cloud because the company goes out of business or decides to move on to other products and your $4,000 laser cutter becomes a very large plastic paperweight.

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Take that - stupid beta users

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The post is misleading in several ways.

  1. Google isn’t doing anything to anyone’s hardware. They are killing the service that the hardware relies on as they bought the service to remove competition for their Nest system. Perfectly ordinary capitalism move. Now those Resolv users will either have the option of buying Google’s Nest hardware or doing without the service. The real villain is the DRM laws which prevent people from offering alternative firmware for the devices, but most average users really won’t have the tech savvy to make use of such an option.

  2. The dishwashers rejecting third party link is presented in the article as factual signs of things to come, when the article itself is a satire of Apple’s music streaming service. People do need to be aware that when they buy network-based hardware is that it’s just that… dependant on a network and they need to make intelligent choices based on the likelihood of that support network to be around in the long term.

Anything that talks to nearby devices via the internet is defective (by design?)

Sure it takes away the problems of “How do I adjust my thermostat from anywhere in the world?” by treating you like you are anywhere in the world at all times, but it also means that there has to be an internet-facing server to talk to you so you can talk to your devices. See above for one of the possible outcomes there.

It’s open source, runs on a Raspberry Pi (or practically anything else), and talks to pretty much any sort of device you might want to.

They also seem to have a cloud service to give you access to your devices without having to set up a VPN (not the kind they sell in the BB store.)

I’ve set it up on a Pi2 with a Z-Wave stick and I’ve got it working with a simple switch as well as a Z-Wave thermostat.

I’ll admit, this is way harder than purchasing something off the shelf and just plugging it all in. The documentation is not great, but there’s a good community around it and it seems to be a fairly active project.


Google could release the firmware for open development though, yeah? It isn’t like DRM is tying googlebet’s hands.

Unfortunately if they weren’t designed to be open to begin with I think it will always fall under the ‘more trouble that it is worth’ category unless one of the founders who made a good chunk of change on the exit is going to invest their own time and money to releasing it into the wild or a bunch of the user base with explicit or tacit permission.

See the tale of the Chumby.

In this case, cutting support is bricking the product.

Google is shutting down webservices which the Revolvs depend on; they’re not sending the Revolvs a kill signal.

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No - read the small print.

Maybe arbitration, where they choose the terms and the arbitrators.

Google also spent an ocean of money lobbying for those DRM laws, crossing their collective fingers while speaking to the public about how horrible they are. For a while.

Great, I just picked up a Revolv on eBay. Now, instead of hooking it up, I will look at joining the lawsuit.

IIRC, Revolv is itself a local server, so the Google tie-in is apparently a FU backdoor control. I certainly didn’t know about it, and it seemed logical that I was buying something that simply would never be upgraded. Fool me once, but now I am more than willing to trade user experience for not giving Google control over my hardware.

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They - the company that they bought and assumed the responsibilities of - sold a service with a Lifetime Subscription. When you sell a lifetime subscription that depends on your server, you have a responsibility to keep that server running for a reasonable time.

The dishwashers rejecting third party link is presented in the article as factual signs of things to come, when the article itself is a satire of Apple’s music streaming service.

It’s more than satire. Printers, coffee makers and more do exactly what’s described.

People do need to be aware that when they buy network-based hardware is that it’s just that

This is nothing new. It’s a concept existing long before networks and home computers. If a company sells insurance, warranties or subscriptions, they can’t just walk away from their responsibilities.

It’s a different matter if they go under, of course. Another company can purchase the assets without taking on the responsibilities. But that’s not what happened in this case; Google bought the company.

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What this - along with the experience of Google Reader, Google Search Appliance, GTalk, and a number of other end of life decisions - has taught me is to never, ever trust Google and their related companies. I use iOS and you can be damn sure I’m never going to move to Android at this point. Our company invested significant time and energy to developing integrations for the GSA and that was pulled away from under us (although you’ll notice they treat their corporate customers better than individuals by giving two years notice of the retirement).

So, no to any google products except free search through the web (anonymously). I’m sure I’m far from the only person who feels this way, and that becomes a problem when we are technical architects who recommend and design solutions for customers. I have already told numerous clients not to use google docs and other google products because there is zero likelihood of support for them continuing in the medium to long term. I truly wonder what they see their long term business as being, or is it all just quarter to quarter planning?


As a capitalist… what would be your incentive to do so? Say you’re the man in charge of Google Nest. It’s bottom line is all on you. Would you truly be incentivised to keep competition viable?

They could end further development. They could end tech support. With the web services up and running, it would cost approximately nothing to simply keep them running. You essentially ignore them. Even transferring them to a new server a few years down the road is no big deal.

When your Canon or Panasonic or HP printers are a decade old and support long ended, you can still go to their site and find the device drivers for them. And the manuals. And sub-forums dedicated to them. Even after the site has been redesigned a couple times.


No - I don’t think there is a capitalist incentive to do so. This doesn’t surprise me at all and I don’t fault google for it. I actually expect it give their history of phaseout of products they’ve called it quits with.

I do my part trying to create the world I want when I early adopt by supporting projects that support open development and open standards with my money and purchases. I don’t know enough about the history of Revolv to know what their stance was when they were building their user community.

AFAIK, there software wasn’t any more open than Nest’s.

I guess one could say that going through a shutdown that is a little more gentle or that helps the community carry on their own server services if they wish at their own cost might help build some community goodwill that might make the markets more interested in your products in the future. If everything it going to be connected an need ongoing connectivity and server support to function, users will look at your history with this stuff, in an economic/capitalistic sense.

But I am bowing out. I don’t fault the googlebet here, they are doing exactly what they have indicated they would do. The point about lifetime services and what that means for acquired products and services is interesting though. As always “lifetime” isn’t always defined as the life of the hardware or end user, but the life of the support co.

So, uh, everyone build your Diaspora networks!

Yeah! Put 'em all at the bottom of the ocean where they belong!


And everything and everyone has an arbitration agreement written in the terms. The last car I bought–written in the contract. A doctor I saw–written into new patients’ paperwork.

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