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August 17, 2015

Proprietor of leading technology news site: “I No Longer Have Any Trust In The Nest Protect”

Michael Larabel, who runs the well-known free software news and reviews hub Phoronix, has a post up about an awful experience he recently had with Google-owned Nest’s Protect, a souped-up, Internet-connected smoke detector. Larabel writes:

Earlier this year I wrote about protecting our Linux test farm with the Nest Protect. While I own ten of these “high tech smoke detectors” and initially recommended, I no longer trust them after a long night.

In the middle of the night I was alerted to “smoke in the bedroom” by all ten Nest Protects going off with the alert and siren, plus alerts going into mine and Fataima’s phone. Quickly investigating, there was no smoke to be found in the bedroom or any other room… Nor anything resembling smoke or any other causes for concern. The fire alarms tied to the security system also hadn’t sensed any smoke.

The unit continued to malfunction:

At first pushing the Nest button I thought the silencing worked, but nope, it came back to broadcasting across all of the Nest devices that there was smoke — when there was not. I disconnected that particular Nest Protect from the AC power, took it to another room, still reported smoke. Putting the Nest Protect in a kitchen pot with lid still claimed of smoke and produced warnings… This particular Nest unit was bought just earlier this year and was going insane in the middle of the night.

In the end, Larabel says he had to resort to a sledgehammer (literally) to shut the Nest Protect up. He still doesn’t know what caused the Google-made device to go crazy, and is going to let Nest know what happened.  He would be wise to stay away from Nest gizmos in the future.

Larabel is not the only person to have encountered this problem. There is a video on Google-owned YouTube, posted by a Google employee, documenting a malfunctioning Nest Protect. Video creator Brad Fitzpatrick says, “Do not buy a Nest Protect. You will regret it. You can stop or mute this video if it’s annoying, but you cannot stop a Nest.”

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