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Nest Protect Smoke Detector Blasted For Being A Terrible, Buggy Product

February 16, 2015 - Written By David Steele

We all have our own personal nightmare. Maybe it’s waking up to the headlines that coffee has been outlawed in your particular city, country, state or street, or perhaps a massive Apple billboard has been put up right outside your window. It might be that your local cell mast has gone offline and you’ve no coverage, or maybe your smoke alarm is faulty and keeps on going off. That’s the scenario that Brad Fitzpatrick is facing with his Nest Protect smoke detector giving false alarms and he has posted a video clip on YouTube and written about it on his Google+ page describing the product as, “a terrible, buggy product.”

Google paid $3 billion for Nest and access to the smart home thermostat and smoke detector business. The Nest Protect is designed as a smarter alternative to a smoke (and carbon monoxide) alarm because it simply doesn’t beep when it detects smoke, but instead it tells you what and where the problem is. It also provides a self-check service; when you dim the lights, the ring will glow either green (to report that there’s plenty of charge in the battery and all sensors are working as they should) or it’ll glow yellow if there’s an issue. Of course, if you’ve just gotten into bed that means you will climb out, push the button and it’ll tell you what the issue is! The Protect also works with the Nest smart thermostat; if it detects a carbon monoxide leak it will shut down your boiler and also uses its proximity sensors to help the Nest shut down the heating or cooling system if the house is empty.

However, as the clip below shows – and I warn you, it’s loud and seems to annoy domestic cats – the smoke detector is not perfect! As well as the beeping noise from the smoke detector, it also talks to the user and reports that it “can’t be hushed here,” which I suppose would be a good thing if the house were on fire and the user reached up to mute it. However, from Brad’s comments, the Nest was going off all day. That’s sure to have been somewhat frustrating! And this isn’t the first time the Nest Protect has had problems; last May, more than 400,000 of the units had to be recalled for a firmware patch because people could easily inadvertently turn the unit off. Still, I like the idea behind the Protect: it’s about time the humble ubiquitous smoke detector was smartened up and I hope that Google can iron out the bugs before too long.

Do you have a Nest Protect at home? If you do, have you experienced any false alarms or has it worked as designed? Let us know in the comments below.