Deal alert: Google Nest Hubs on sale for $79

I paid $149 when these were first released and still think that was a good value. For about half that much this is a steal!

Good description of what Google are doing with your data I think… But with them locking down their API I don’t know if anyone is interested in these anymore (or any cloud based device like it )

I’m not fully convinced that cloud-based data is as big of a threat as is being marketed – particularly since the primary alarmists (offering to “protect us”) are the same people literally stealing our data ( At least with consensual data mining we receive valuable services in exchange (artificial intelligence, navigation, etc.) which are either infeasible or impossible otherwise, and we can withdraw our participation and funding at any time (rights the “protectors” ban us from exercising).
Ironically, the way we’ll eventually restore our rights will be through the use of cryptocurrency, which is ostensibly considered ‘cloud-based’. When governments are no longer able to extract money from us without our consent they’ll have no other choice than to provide services we value in order to obtain funding.


The announcement itself seems a little less dramatic than the comments in that thread:

…Your existing devices and integrations will continue working with your Nest Account, but you won’t have access to new features that will be available with a Google Account. And we’ll stop accepting new WWN connections on August 31, 2019. Once your WWN functionality is available on the Works with Google Assistant (“WWGA”) platform, you can migrate with minimal disruption from a Nest Account to a Google Account…

What’s happening at Nest? | Nest (emphasis mine)

Service providers can have a unique interpretation of ‘consensual’.

I don’t use Alexa so I’m not familiar with the Terms of Service. Did they claim this data would expire automatically?

No but rather than adopt an ‘opt-in’ approach (yes, please keep a record of all my conversations) they default to ‘opt-out’ (no, please stop keeping a record of all my conversations). The article above contains a link to Alexa Privacy.

Then there’s the issue of them turning over recorded conversations to authorities for use in criminal investigations.

I’m not donning a tinfoil hat, but anyone introducing one of these devices into their home needs to do so with a sober view of what it truly is. It’s a listening/recording device that offers you conveniences in exchange for insight into your personal life (habits, preferences, lifestyle choices, etc).

I’m assuming you meant, “…all my conversations *with Alexa” (AFAIK audio isn’t recorded until “Alexa” is heard).

Aren’t all Terms of Service “opt-in” (excluding government, of course)? I suppose they could separate each of the specific terms into individual agreements but I think a lot more people would complain about that, and it would seem to effectively create multiple service offerings with different feature-sets. That level of granularity may be attractive to geeks like us, but I think most users prefer a simpler approach. If that turns out to be incorrect (or changes later), users will move to service providers who do offer more granular control and the service providers not doing so will either have to adapt or accept losing revenue.

Again, this is the fault of non-consensual governance. These services are forced to provide these records, and worse-yet, are most often banned from even telling anyone else that it happened (via “gag orders”).

I whole-heartedly agree.

Yes, that was implied.

Having said that, as we both know, it’s listening all the time, for its wake-word to be spoken. Then, purportedly, only records after detecting its wake-word. Lastly, it transmits the recording to the mothership for processing. I seem to recall reading someone confirmed (by monitoring the device’s network communications) that it did indeed only transmit the post wake-word phrases and not every damn thing it heard. If I were a betting man, I’d say that’s not due to any hardware limitation but to a software setting (and all that that implies).

I remember seeing a packet-sniffing test performed on Google Home with similar results (I think on either XDA’s or Android Authority’s YouTube channel). I haven’t paid much attention to Alexa since I don’t use it. But as you said, I’m also pretty confident that’s merely a software setting (or at best, firmware). I’m also confident that governments everywhere are trying to exploit this, but this is probably a fairly low priority for them since cellphone and email exploits yield much better gains. Given the known state of mass data mining by governments today, the potential ‘risks’ posed by private data mining seem trivial to me – particularly if the results of the latter help us to eliminate the former.

Found it…

The main issue is that these companies CAN and have shutdown or restricted their API’s in increasing numbers recently. So you get stuck with hardware you can’t integrate anymore, hence the HA focus on local control.

Buying a nest hub at ANY price is a risk. Buying anything that requires cloud rather than local access is a risk.

The market (consumers) currently regulate the extent to which they can successfully restrict access to these devices. If, for instance, Google were to eliminate the ability to Cast to their hubs, they would most likely see a dramatic decline in sales. This feature alone allows me to automatically view camera streams when motion is detected and automatically broadcast announcements/pictures/videos for any state change I choose (without disrupting music or videos I may be playing on other devices), which is worth $79 (or even $149) to me, before even factoring in additional features. And if Google were to restrict access too severely, I’m quite confident that open source custom firmware would be developed within a matter of weeks that would give us complete control over these hubs and block Google from any access. They know any move like that would be suicidal to their business model.

Although I agree with you, I can’t help but be reminded of Google’s proficiency in strangling its own offspring. They have a growing private cemetery of products they’ve terminated (or starved to death). All this to say that, at the very least, they’ve demonstrated the ability to shoot themselves in the foot.

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I think them trying to severely restrict us from these devices would be the best outcome for us, but I don’t foresee it happening anytime soon. Until then we just have to accept the fact that (to the extent not banned by governments) the market (society at large) dictates what is cost-effective to produce and what isn’t. Similarly, I wish western governments would hurry up and ban us *themselves from cryptocurrencies to clear our path towards mass adoption, but they too know that would undermine their own profits.