Google Nest Hub Comparison

Opinion post by
Andrew Grush

We’ve known for a while Google planned to rebrand Nest, but at Google I/O 2019 it officially happened.

Initially many believed Google might end up rebranding Nest products with the Google Home moniker. It turns out the opposite is true. Google’s smart devices will now fall under the new Google Nest brand, starting with the Google Nest Hub Max and the rebranded Nest Hub (formerly the Home Hub).

What’s less clear is what this means for smart speakers like the Google Home. Will future generations be called Google Nest? Google Nest Home? Google Home, by Google Nest? We’ve reached out for comment from Google, but honestly, it’s more than likely that even they don’t know the answer just yet.

Would killing the Google Home brand really be wise?

Photograph of Google Home Hub, Home Mini, and Home side by side

With 61 percent of the smart speaker market share, Amazon’s Echo is still king in the smart speaker space. It also has a number of big smart home brands like Ring under its fold. I can see why this might make Google anxious to shake things up, but blowing up all the work it has built around the Home brand just seems like an odd direction to take.

Although Google Home only controls 24 percent of the smart home market, it’s made a lot of ground over the last few years. According to an RBC Analyst report from December of 2018, 52 million Google Home devices had been sold since Google entered the smart speaker space, and we can imagine that figure has continued to climb upward in 2019.

Ditching the Google Home brand entirely feels like starting over. Is that really necessary?

Google Home isn’t a household name, but it’s a brand on the rise. Google has also invested a ton in commercials and advertising. Everywhere I turn there seems to be a Google Home advertisement, and they are prominently displayed at most big box retailers as well (largely due to the fact that Amazon is seen as a competitor by Walmart, Target, etc.).

Removing the Google Home brand would require reeducation, and that means spending a lot of marketing dollars to reinvent the wheel. Sure, Nest has brand recognition too, but I wager Google Home has more sway.

I wasn’t able to dig up any recent figures, though the founder of Nest claimed in February of last year that Nest had sold 11 million devices in the company’s lifetime. Unless Nest managed to catch up in a year or so, it’s probably safe to say the Google Home series has sold more.

It’s too early to say what will happen to Google Home

Google Nest Hub Max Gesture

For me, it’s obvious that Google Home has legs and shouldn’t be abandoned. Of course the same applies to Nest. Nest has loyal followers that might not even fully be aware of the company’s connection to Google, so rebranding all Nest products as Google Home would be equally foolish — especially for the thermostat line.

So what’s the solution? I won’t pretend to know the answer, though it’s very possible that Google will continue to use brands like Google Home but add on something like “by Google Nest” for its speakers and select products like the Chromecast and Google WiFi.

So what should be branded Google Home going forward? The word “home” means “the place where one lives,” so the idea of a Google Home product being the center of your smart home experience (the brains) makes sense to me — think hubs, smart speakers, and smart displays — though the ship has obviously sailed for the latter.

Reality check: I have no power or sway over Google, so what I want doesn’t matter. Still, I do wonder what our readers think. Would you like to see Google keep Google Home branding to some extent? Would you prefer everything to be rebranded as Google Nest?

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