With the unveiling today of the Google Nest Hub Max, you might be wondering what’s going on with the branding. Google must value the Nest name more than has previously been apparent and will be using it for all of its smart home products going forward.
For now, only the Home Hub is being renamed (to Google Nest Hub), so we won’t see the original Google Home or Home Mini rebranded. But the implication is that if those products were to be updated, they too would carry the Nest appellation. One other consequence of this new direction is that Nest subscribers will be given the choice of switching to a Google account or merging their Nest subscription into a pre-existing Google account. However, the Google Home and Nest apps will continue as distinct products for the time being, although the prospect of merging them is under consideration.
Google acquired Nest back in 2014 for $3.2 billion before spinning it off into a separate entity under newly formed parent company Alphabet a year later. Contrary to the original plan of allowing Nest to operate independently, it was eventually merged with Google’s growing hardware division last year and many of Nest’s former employees still work there today.
With hindsight, the branding changes announced today make sense — what’s maybe perplexing is that it didn’t happen soon. The Nest brand has a strong cachet, known for protecting users in their homes and making their lives easier. Using the name to increase trust in Google’s smart home products could prove to be a wise move. Or perhaps the even stronger Google association will bring the Nest brand into disrepute. We’ll have to wait and see which way it goes.