Google engineer trashes Tony Fadell’s precious Nest smoke alarm

“It’s a safe bet that Nest CEO Tony Fadell is not too happy with Google staff engineer Brad Fitzpatrick right now,” Brad Reed reports for BGR.

“Fitzpatrick last week posted a video that showed Nest’s Nest Protect smoke alarms badly misbehaving in his home,” Reed reports. “In fact, despite the fact that his house was not on fire, the alarms kept going off and he was unable to find a way to get them to shut up. Fitzpatrick says he posted the video for one reason: To warn people away from buying Nest Protect.”

Reed reports, “‘Do NOT buy a Nest smoke alarm,’ he writes bluntly. ‘They false alarm and are unhushable pieces of crap… This went off in my house all day, annoying my neighbors. When I got the Android notification that my house was burning down I immediately assumed it was false, since my Nests had already cried wolf before. I also checked video cameras and saw my house wasn’t actually burning down, so I stayed at work. My poor neighbors, though.'”

Read more and see the video in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A Nest is the last smoke alarm you want. You want a quality smoke alarm.

And, Brad, get a real iPhone while you’re at it, too.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “dan” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
With HomeKit and Honeywell’s Lyric, a Nest acquisition by Apple would have been foolish – June 18, 2014
Will Apple’s Internet of Things vision hurt a beautiful idea? With HomeKit, Apple promises easy home automation – June 6, 2014
Smart thermostat war heats up as Apple-partner Honeywell takes aim at Google’s Nest – June 13, 2014
Honeywell takes dead aim at Google’s Nest with new iPhone-compatible Lyric smart thermostat – June 10, 2014
Dead to me: Apple’s Schiller ‘unfollows’ Tony Fadell and Nest after Google acquisition – January 18, 2014


  1. It’s true, i have nest smoke alarms and for the first month i owned them they cried wolf like 5 times. they haven’t done it in a while now….but i’m not holding my breath. The nest thermostat is decent.

  2. Funny, I replaced a smoke detector with a Nest Protect because the previous one was constantly giving false positives. Worse, those false positives were flipping out the rest of the networked detectors (conventional ones, not Nest) similarly to what you see in this video. Since going to the Nest Protect, I haven’t had any issues and it much more accurately triggers when it’s supposed to. It’s one that I have placed near a door where on the other side is an outdoor barbecue, so it does go off when the barbecue is bringing smoke into the house.

    Modern smoke detectors are much more complicated than they used to be… even the conventional ones. In our house they’re not only networked, but in addition to the battery, they have connections to the house power supply. It’s not uncommon for this wiring to be shared with other wiring in the circuit (the idea being that if the circuit breaks, you’ll notice lights and other things not working). Other equipment on the circuit can cause interference.

    Another example, if one detector in our house has a battery fault, they all go off which leads some people to play the “guess which battery needs replacing”, when you’re really supposed to replace all of the batteries at the same time.

    All of these issues are common amongst newer detectors, but I’ve found Nest to be a little easier to work with thanks to the speech feedback.

    1. Same here, my parent’s house has the smoke detectors hardwired in. The problem is, a couple of the detectors are located too high up to be reached without a ladder (always fun when your house sounds like a war zone) … and the batteries have a tendency of dying in the middle of the night.

  3. So why is it that everyone was praising the Nest thermostats before Nest was bought by Google, but now that Google owns Nest, the thermostats are crap? Even though the thermostats haven’t changed much at all?

    I have Nest thermostats, and they are fantastic. One thousand times better than the Honeywell incomprehensible programmable junk that they replaced. I haven’t tried the Nest Protect detectors yet, but the thermostats are great.

    1. I couldn’t be more happy with our Nests. Our family has them in 3 houses. Our largest house has 8 of them. I also have been testing a Nest Protect for a few months now and plan on swapping out all of our smoke detectors during the next cycle.

    2. I have a Nest thermostat and HAD been very happy with it until the most recent software update (which you do not have control over). Base on the wiring in my home, the Nest battery is ‘vampire’ charged. This worked great for 2 years. However, following the recent (Google era) software update, I’m constantly having low battery problems where Nest goes offline – often for extended periods. Not a problem with the battery, but is a known software FEATURE as the new software is MORE intensively connected to the internet. Suggested solution is to rewire the lines leading to the thermostat to include a dedicated power line ….

    3. The article is discussing complaints about the Nest SMOKE DETECTOR. That should not be confused with the Nest THERMOSTAT, with which many people have been very happy, and with which some (like me) still are.

      Also your comment is implying that the main problem people are having with Nest smoke detectors are the fact that Nest is now a google company. I very much doubt that the google engineer who complained, and is quoted in the article, shares your POV.

    4. Probably you bought your Nest before Google pounced on Tony Fradell. Google wanted Nest to be a spy, which was what Nest was not originally designed to be. That’s why Nest got its brains screwed up and it went berserk at ungodly hours.

  4. google execs wouldn’t know engineering if it walked up and punched them right in the face. Which by the way is also a great way of dealing with a google exec if you happen to be a GOOG investor/future bankruptcy candidate.

  5. Smoke detectors in general are very tricky devices. One of the most common causes of false alarms is mold or pollen. Whenever the trees are in bloom in the northwest, my family’s smoke detectors invariably start going off. Indoor mold has triggered it, too (especially when we had a bathroom that didn’t properly ventilate). Interesting just how overly sensitive they are.

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