Your smart home is only as good as the brand behind it

Your smart home is only as good as the brand behind it
Written by Techbot

The smart home, frankly, is still a bit of a mess, and new updates and developments this week serve as a good reminder that your setup is really only as good as what the brand behind it decides on.

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For years now the smart home has been building up, and recently it feels more and more like things have been really inching closer to the point we’ve all been waiting for. Matter hasn’t made a massive splash, but the bits we have seen so far are promising. And, on top of that, there are a lot of brands getting better and better at this game. Google has also stepped up in some huge ways lately, with its upgrades to the Home app such as the Script Editor that was released this week.

But, on the flip side, we also keep getting reminders that so much of the smart home is typically out of the owner’s control.

Sure, there are some advanced pieces of kit that work well for keeping everything in house, but they’re often very expensive and very complicated to set up. Realistically, the vast majority of people are buying affordable gear that’s mostly managed in the cloud.

Case in point is Google’s own Nest. The system has a lot of great aspects, but many are out of your control. A good example of that is the new HDR update that rolled out this week. Google touts that the update makes massive improvements to being able to see dark subjects in poor lighting, but customers have been (rightfully) annoyed by the washed-out colors and nasty-looking details. When the update first started rolling out before Google’s announcement, almost everyone thought it was a bug!

Nest Cam HDR update
Google, you know this isn’t good right?

But that is, more or less, relatively inconsequential. A problem with bigger impact this week was with Chamberlain MyQ garage door openers. Both as a result of Google pulling “Conversational Actions” from Assistant (with a year’s warning) and the fact that the integration just wasn’t reliable or even good, Chamberlain confirmed that it has discontinued support for Google Assistant. There’s no official alternative beyond some hacky third-party tie-ins, and that sucks! Users didn’t get a vote here, they’re just being left out to dry without functionality they’ve paid for.

Another thing I’ve had on my mind this week is the sting of Google’s decision to pull the plug on Nest Secure. Despite the ADT partnership they’ve been touting, it just doesn’t remotely replace the functionality that Nest’s system offered, and honestly, it’s really annoying! More on that soon, as our review of ADT’s Self Setup system is coming soon.

These issues don’t just exist within Google’s ecosystem, though. Back in March Amazon-owned Ring announced a new subscription plan that would put previously-free features behind a paywall. Arlo was planning, but reversed the decision, to kill cloud storage for customers. Wyze unexpectedly hiked its home security pricing at one point. And of course we all remember Eufy, which was caught sending data it promised was local to the cloud, and then lied about it time and time again.

The smart home is full is big promises and a lot of great things, but when it boils down to it, there’s just so much that’s out of the customer’s control, and we deserve better.

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