So far, Google’s Nest Labs home automation arm makes two smart, web-enabled devices: the Nest thermostat and Nest Protect smoke/CO detector. The count will go to three when the company finalizes its agreement to acquire the startup behind the Dropcam security camera.
Those products, of course, are outnumbered by vast and growing quantities of smart-home hardware and software created by other companies. And from now on, some of the most interesting things which Nest’s devices do may be actions they perform in concert with third-party gear.
Following up on plans it announced last fall, Nest is launching a developer program which lets other companies make their products compatible with the thermostat and smoke detector.
Some of the “Works With Nest” automations which Nest is talking about:
- Mercedes-Benz cars can alert a Nest thermostat to when you’ll arrive home so that it can begin adjusting the temperature while you’re on your way.
- Logitech Harmony universal remotes can be programmed to control a Nest thermostat.
- A Nest thermostat can tell a Whirlpool washer and dryer that you’re not at home, allowing them to switch to slower, more energy-efficient cycles.
- When your Jawbone Up24 wristband knows you’ve woken up, it can tell a Nest thermostat so that it can tweak the temperature.
- LIFX light bulbs can flash if your Nest Protect smoke detector goes off, and fool prowlers by turning on and off randomly when your Nest thermostat tells them that you’re not around.
- The excellent IFTTT service for DIY automation works with the Nest thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector, letting you write your own recipes, such as one which alerts the neighbors by text message if smoke is detected at your home.
- Starting this fall, the Google Now smartphone app will let the Nest thermostat know when you’re on the way home, and will allow you to set it through an “OK Google” spoken command.
All of this sounds pretty cool–and it’s presumably not a coincidence that the news is being announced on the eve of Google’s IO developer conference.
Nest is emphasizing the measures it’s taking to protect data collected by its devices: They won’t relay any personally-identifiable information to other hardware or software, and such third-party recipients will only be able to store ten days’ worth of data.
As Nest faces more and more competition in categories it’s pioneering, such as Honeywell’s new Lyric thermostat, “Works With Nest” could help it keep its edge. The company says that over 5,000 developers have already expressed interest in developing Nest-compatible wares.