Home & Office

Can you trust Google to keep your WiFi running until 2030?

When purchasing a Google product nowadays, the first question should be how long it is allowed to live.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

For the past few weeks, my home WiFi has been powered by the Google Nest Wifi, and it has been a mostly uneventful experience.

The Nest Wifi still needs a modem to function, so it will be an additional piece of clutter, but it focuses on doing one thing well, and it does improve WiFi reception in the previous blackspots of my abode.

The kit has two parts as standard: The white and round base router that connects to your modem, and a similarly white and round extension point. Setup is dead simple if you follow the instructions, and do not attempt to scan the QR code on the base on the units yourself -- it's a waste of time, they return garbage unless scanned by the Google Home app.

The network is controlled out of the Home app on a very basic level, and users that want some more settings need to install a separate Google WiFi, but it is a far cry from the sort of settings possible on existing modem-routers that advanced users expect. For instance, the router will setup the same SSID on 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, so devices can pick the one that is best for them -- and you will not be able to split them out.

For reasons best known to Google, it has smart speaker capabilities on the extension point, and not the router unit. This is no major loss, as Google has not fixed issues with its Home devices that make its smarts a non-starter, for mine.

A twin pack with base and point units retails for AU$400 in Australia, with a base and point pair twin pack going for AU$600. This is expensive if you just want the WiFi benefits, but if you want some smart speaker capabilities to go along with it, it might be the ticket.

On the core selling point, improving and simplifying WiFi coverage in a home environment, the Google Nest Wifi is top notch.

See: Google is a bald-faced IoT liar and its Nest pants are on fire

However, if a family member asked me whether they should buy it, it would be tempting to recommend it based on performance and ease of setup, but the looming question is how committed Google is to the product?

The irony has not been lost on me that the place where I have the extension point sitting is beside a printer that will regress in functionality next year because Google decided to end its Cloud Print service.

And the Nest brand itself has suffered from Google changing its mind and going for new services over existing ones.

On Wednesday, Google will add to its graveyard of dead products and services, when it ends support for its Google Translator Toolkit after a decade of use.

Needing a decade's worth of support feels about right for something like the Nest Wifi. Despite the security problems that pop up, hardware like modems, routers, and WiFi extensions are very much set and forget items for regular consumers.

Therefore, the big question on whether to trust Google with your WiFi boils down to a belief that Mountain View will keep it running until 2030.

Can I put my hand on my heart and say that? Of course not. Given its current form, even 2025 would appear to be a stretch.

Image: Google


The Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. Since we run a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet's global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.

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