If you’re Brad Fitzgerald, you're probably pretty confident in your job stability to do what he did last week. Fitzgerald, a Google staff software engineer, posted a video of the Nest Protect alarm and said the product is terribly buggy.
He went on: "“Do NOT buy a Nest smoke alarm. They false alarm and are unhushable pieces of crap… This went off in my house all day, annoying my neighbors. When I got the Android notification that my house was burning down I immediately assumed it was false, since my Nests had already cried wolf before. I also checked video cameras and saw my house wasn’t actually burning down, so I stayed at work. My poor neighbors, though.”
Now being a founder of LiveJournal and Chief Architect at Six Apart - both fairly seminal blogging CMS platforms - will give you some street cred at a place like Google, but nonetheless the criticism probably drove Tony Fadell and the Nest team absolutely crazy and no doubt led to some heated email exchanges and phone calls.
That said, this type of post from a Google employee shows that Nest is still dealing with a significant problem with Nest Protect, which gave the company a black eye last year when they had to issue a recall due to some advanced gesture recognition technologies that could lead to the alarm being disabled. It also makes one wonder if the Nest Protect fiasco has slowed down the Nest innovation engine since the company hasn’t put out any new products since the acquisition.
While the Nest thermostat continues to plug along and Nest grows its ecosystem through Works With Nest, it’s clear the company had a major setback with Nest Protect. Advanced feature sets in lifeline products like smoke alarms might be risky, and I expect Nest might be a little more conservative this time. Also, this news combined with that of discord within the ranks on the Dropcam team makes one wonder if there is some internal issues that Nest has to deal with. It also makes it doubly important that Tony Fadell’s recent expansion of responsibility with Google Glass doesn’t mean he takes his eye of the Nest ball anytime soon.