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Google generates wave of anti-IoT press with Nest shutdown

William Payne
April 7, 2016
Google has announced that it is shutting down the web service that supports its Revolv smart home hub in May. All Revolv home hubs will cease to work with the shutdown of the web service.

Revolv was an independent smart home startup that was acquired by Google’s Nest home automation division in October 2014. The Revolv home hub allowed users to control home gadgets and utilities through a smartphone app. The hub and the smartphone app communicated with each other through the cloud service that is now being closed.

Google’s announcement that it is closing down the Revolv service has generated a wave of negative press comment around the decision, with a reach over to home automation in general.

Wired Magazine, which has been a consistent advocate for home automation and the Internet of Things, trended top with a news piece entitled “Nest’s hub shutdown proves you’re crazy to buy into the Internet of Things”.

Other top trending sites had similar news stories: “Google punishes early adopters of the ‘Internet of Things’”, “Nest bricks Revolv home automation hubs”, “Why Nest’s Revolv hubs won’t be the last IoT devices knocked offline”, and “Don’t both trying to make your dumb house smart” were the stories that were trending at the top of news coverage of IoT.

Google has provoked similar sentiment and coverage in the past. In particular when it switched off its Reader service in 2013, a decision that aroused considerable controversy. 

Coverage of Revolv’s imminent shutdown was started with a story by blogger Arlo Gilbert, a Revolv user who discovered that Nest was shutting down the service when he visited their website to look for promised support for a particular device. 

Gilbert pointed out that over two years he had replaced many home devices, including security and burglar alarms, lights and timers with ones that depended on the Revolv system, all of which would stop working when Nest switched the service off.

In particular Gilbert, who is CEO of Austin based digital health company Televero, was irked by Nest giving such short notice -- just over a month -- and not communicating directly with its customers, instead posting the message to a FAQ on its own website.