Alarming: Google Outage Prevented Smart Home Users from Locking Their Front Doors and Using Baby Monitors

Your smart home is only as smart as the network that runs it.

On Sunday, some Google users found themselves locked out of YouTube and Gmail as the tech giant experienced major outages across the U.S. But while the service disruption only affected most users’ browsing history, others saw their homes malfunction. Nest, a Google-owned smart home company, was also affected by the outage. For Nest users, that meant losing access to smart thermostats, smart baby monitors, and smart front doors.

They might seem like a plot device in a heavy-handed sci-fi movie, but smart home glitches are an inevitability as more people invite digital helpers into their homes.

“Can’t use my Nest lock to let guests into my house,” a commenter on the tech forum Hacker News wrote on Sunday. “I’m pretty sure their infrastructure is hosted in Google Cloud.”

The commenter, StanfordKid, had been trying to use Nest to unlock his door for guests while he was away. In theory, the software is safer than leaving the keys under a doormat. Unless Google is down—then the smart home device loses its brain.

StanfordKid wasn’t the only Nest user locked out of his devices on Sunday. Nest also makes smart smoke detectors, smart camera systems, and smart thermostats, some of which were reported useless during the four-hour outage. (Nest did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

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SOURCE: Kelly Weill
Daily Beast