The Google Nest Hub Max gets an update to prepare it for Matter support (hooray!), but loses the ability to connect directly to the Nest x Yale Lock (boo). Over the next month, a “small number” of people could be temporarily disconnected until they add another dongle (ugh), but at least the dongle will be free (hooray again).
In a post on the company’s Nest Community page, Google says:
Once this software update is rolled out, Nest Hub Max will no longer support bridging or range extension. At this time, users whose locks are connected to Wi-Fi through a Nest Hub Max or who are out of range of Nest Connect or Nest Guard will not be able to lock or unlock their door using the Nest app. Users can still lock and unlock the door using the Nest x Yale lock keypad. 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.
For some context, when the Nest x Yale lock launched in 2018 as one of the first “thread-ready” devices, it required either a Nest Connect bridge (included with the lock or available separately for $70) or that now-defunct Nest Guard home security system 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 some people did.
The July update breaks this functionality for the lock and the Nest Guard door sensor. Anyone with either device who doesn’t already have a Nest Connect or Nest Guard security system will need Nest Connect to reconnect them. Laura Breen, a spokeswoman for Google, told us: “Users who do not own Nest Connect or Nest Guard and are affected by this update will receive a coupon code for a free Nest Connect from the Google Store or will be directed to support for a free Nest Connect.”
According to Breen, the workaround is necessary because “the connectivity built into the Nest x Yale Lock, Nest Guard, and Nest Connect is based on a previous implementation of Thread, and their implementations do not support Matter-required functionality. As the Nest Hub Max cannot support multi-threaded networks (or network configurations), it will no longer be able to support interoperability with 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 act as Matter controllers; The same blog post said the Nest Hub Max could also 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 currently planned.” Matter wasn’t even a wink for the Connectivity Standards Alliance when the Nest x Yale Lock was launched. Although it has a thread radio, there are limitations that prevent Google from implementing Matter over Thread. Some of Nanoleaf’s thread-enabled bulbs and strips also don’t work with Matter. (My colleague Jennifer Pattison Tuohy is on vacation, so I can’t ask her to explain.)
Still, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and sometimes that means getting another dongle so your Nest Smart Lock can continue to communicate with your Nest Smart Hub.