Just some words of caution.... As a retired software engineer and customer support specialist with over 25 years experience, and one who has also been trying to get a pair of Nest Mini Gen2 wifi speakers working reliably for the past year or so, there is no way I would EVER trust Google products to protect my home or automate ANY critical component of it, including but not limited to thermostat, door locks, fire alarms, security cameras, or even lighting. They have absolutely no idea how to support their products. It's not the fault of the individual support reps. Problems as big as this one start at the top and the only way they can be fixed is from the top, which is always a slow and painful process, assuming that the problem is ever even recognized and an effort undertaken to address it. Until then, please look elsewhere for your home automation needs. Otherwise, if you buy even one product and manage to get it working reliably, you will start buying others and then it will be too late. Caveat emptor....
Sam...hi I have similar background and experiences. Love you posted this reply in two posts cause I too have some angst about Google Support but also can see both sides of the coin. Nothing but the air your breath is free in life is a broad statement and the problem with Software (it's not air) is it cost money to develop and support. SO does Google or any tech company for that matter sell a product and provide free support forever OR do they charge an annual maintenance fee for their software support? BIG companies I use to sell to would pay 10-20% of the software purchase price in annual, ongoing software support/maintenance. Us (my case retired) homeowners don't want another monthly bill! We already pay for internet, TV, cellular, water, electric, mortgage etc so who wants a monthly software support bill. So Google the Behemoth it is can charge us for support and give us good support if we pay for it. OR they sell their products at a large enough profit margin they can provide some support. I don't think Google is selling as much product as you think directly from the Google name, instead they license the technology to third party providers (Tuya, Gosund, Govee, Trane, GE, Phillips) to develop products that work in the GHA eco-system. Until Google can monetize providing support they will continue to push this crowd sourced model of support.
I don't love it trust me! BUT with that said I do belong to several Car Forums and learned ways to fix my cars without having to go to the stealership. Car Forums for me has been a great way to get crowd sourced info to solve my automotive problems without paying the stealership a support/repair fee. Us tech-savy people can do that and benefit from it but others just pay the stealership time and time again and hope their automotive problems are resolved. The consumer protection agency, better business bureau and who knows what other government entities provide some protection from the crazy things some car dealerships due to people. I don't think we have the same sort of protections/guarantee's for tech companies providing Software as a Service through the Internet....but maybe we should. IDK!
My point is I agree with you on all your points and I can only hope Google can see the value in helping people succeed with their technology without having to monetize everything they do. In the mean time I try to help by sharing what I have learned, and I have learned GHA has a long way to go to meet all of my needs/desires. I just haven't figured out how to get in communication with their Engineers to do a Vulcan-mind-meld and share the wealth of knowledge I want to share with them.