Google to reach out and switch off customers’ Revolv home products

Oh, Google, so big, so cutting-edge, so everywhere and everything, so . . . fickle? What was to be a life-long relationship between the company and consumers who shelled out $300 for its Revolv home automation hub has ended.

It was not a mutual thing.

The relationship began like many others, with visions of a happy, productive and long future. From an official FAQ for Revolv: “The Revolv Lifetime Subscription, which is included in the $299 you pay for the solution, enables GeoSense automation and remote updates that allows your Revolv to work together seamlessly (and continually update) with the products you already own; for the lifetime of the product,” the company’s explanation said. “This is something that many other solutions charge for on a monthly basis.”

Many other solutions, however, don’t leave you with a $300 doorstop – and a more or less heart-shaped one at that.

Late Tuesday, after an eruption of anger and frustration on the Internet since news of the Revolv shutdown broke, Google said it was discussing possible compensation with users on a case-by-case basis.

About a year and a half ago, Google’s smart-home firm Nest bought Revolv. Then, earlier this year, Google told the Internet – but not individual Revolv customers – that as of May 15, Revolv was dead to it. And dead to everyone who owned the hub – that’s dead as in “will never work again,” as in, “bricked.” In an online message on the Revolv website, Google was blunt: “The Revolv app won’t open and the hub won’t work.”

Google explained in the message that after buying Revolv it made the hub an “integral part” of its Works with Nest platform. “Now Works with Nest is turning into something more secure, more useful and just flat-out better than anything Revolv created,” the message said. “So we’re pouring all our energy into Works with Nest and are incredibly excited about what we’re making. Unfortunately, that means we can’t allocate resources to Revolv anymore and we have to shut down the service. As of May 15, 2016, your Revolv hub and app will no longer work.”

Revolv owners, naturally, were less than “incredibly excited” about Google’s incredible excitement. Customer Arlo Gilbert, writing in Medium, described his ill-starred love for the red, hand-sized hub. “Revolv is the director and my devices are a beautiful orchestra of home technology,” the self-proclaimed “home automation nut” wrote.

Then Gilbert evinced his displeasure. “This move by Google opens up an entire host of concerns about other Google hardware. Which hardware will Google choose to intentionally brick next? If they stop supporting Android will they decide that the day after the last warranty expires that your phone will go dark?” Gilbert wrote. “Is your Nexus device safe? What about your Nest fire/smoke alarm? What about your Dropcam? What about your Chromecast device?”

While Google in its online message didn’t address the lifetime warranty issue, it made it clear that Evolv’s one-year warranty had expired for every user. The company has not said how many Revolv hubs were sold, but in an email Tuesday referred to “the small number of Revolv customers.” The company said Revolv owners could contact customer support at help@revolv.com.

Google said it has been working with Revolv customers on a case-by-case basis “to determine the best resolution, including compensation.”

 

Photo: The sign for Google headquarters in Mountain View (Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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  • Jay Seifert

    I guess it was the “lifetime” of the Revolv product line rather than the consumer’s “lifetime”. Tricky!

  • retiredinboyntonbeach

    Well, if Microsoft can shut down old software, I guess Google can shut down old houses …

    Reliability in the contemporary world …

 
 
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