The Google Nest Hub Max is getting an update to prepare it for Matter support (hooray!) but will lose the ability to connect directly to the Nest x Yale Lock (boo). Next month, a “small number” of people could find themselves temporarily disconnected until they add another dongle (ugh), but at least the dongle will be free (hooray again).
Per a post on the company’s Nest community page, Google says:
Once this software update rolls out, Nest Hub Max will no longer support bridging or range extension. At that time, users whose locks are connected to Wi-Fi via a Nest Hub Max, or that are out of range of their Nest Connect or Nest Guard will not be able to lock or unlock their door with the Nest app. Users will still be able to lock and unlock the door using the keypad on the Nest x Yale Lock. Nest Detects that are out of range of Nest Connect or Nest Guard will not be able to connect to Wi-Fi and report their status in the Nest app.
Some context: when the Nest x Yale Lock launched in 2018 as one of the first “Thread-ready” devices, it needed either a Nest Connect bridge (bundled with the lock or sold separately for $70) or the now-discontinued Nest Guard home security system in order to connect to the internet and the rest of the Nest ecosystem. But the Nest Hub Max, launched the following year, included a (somewhat hidden) Thread border router, which meant people could connect the Nest x Yale Lock to it without a bridge, and a few people did.
The July update breaks that functionality for the lock and for the Nest Guard door sensor. Anyone with either device that doesn’t already have a Nest Connect or a Nest Guard security system will need a Nest Connect to reconnect them. Laura Breen, a spokesperson for Google, told us “users who do not own either a Nest Connect or Nest Guard and are impacted by this update will receive a coupon code good for one free Nest Connect from the Google Store or be directed to contact Support to receive a Nest Connect for free.”
Breen says the workaround is necessary because “the connectivity built into the Nest x Yale lock, Nest Guard, and Nest Connect are based on an earlier implementation of Thread, and their implementations do not support features required for Matter. As it is not possible for the Nest Hub Max to support multiple Thread networks (or network configurations), it will no longer be able to support interoperability with the Nest Guard, Connect, or Nest x Yale lock.”
In a May blog post, Google said it would update several devices, including the Nest Hub Max, to let them act as Matter controllers; in the same blog post, it said the Nest Hub Max would also be able to act as a Thread border router. This feature replaces the existing Thread border router implementation with its somewhat cumbersome setup process and limited compatibility.
Breen also said that “Matter support for the Nest x Yale lock is not planned at this time.” Matter wasn’t even a twinkle in the eye of the Connectivity Standards Alliance when the Nest x Yale Lock launched, so even though it has a Thread radio, there are limitations that keep Google from implementing Matter over Thread. Several of Nanoleaf’s Thread-enabled bulbs and strips won’t work with Matter, either. (My colleague Jennifer Pattison Tuohy is on vacation, so I can’t ask her to explain it to me.)
Still, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and sometimes that means having to get another dongle so your Nest smart lock can keep talking to your Nest smart hub.