in News, Opinion

Google is one of those devices companies, and rightly so. On the one hand we have a company who are pushing technology boundaries and creating products and services that have made a great contribution to modern life (remember what it was like to “Ask Jeeves” before Google came along! or how limited we were in Email space before gmail? Yuk!)

Yet, at the same time it is also the company that has a file on you that makes your schools personal record look like a one sheet CV. No where is this conflict more apparent than with Google Now which can be an incredible personal assistant, telling you when your upcoming flight is, how far you are from work, what the best restaurants around are etc…and yet also reads every email you have and tracks your movement all day.

Nest was one of those companies that I had an eye on. I don’t currently own a home but the advances that Nest had brought in both its thermostat and protector devices, nest had improved and showed the vision to use technology in a way to enhance our experiences via automation and intelligent analytics. I don’t have a house but I knew I wanted some of their products in my future house.

[Note the use of the past tense in that last sentence.]

Google To Buy Nest

A few hours ago Google and Nest announced that Google is going to drop $3.2 in cash to buy nest. That’s over 3 Instagrams and just under 3 tumblrs for context of the monetary figure but let’s be honest, the amount of cash isn’t really relevant. The big story here is the company that makes money from having as much data about you as it can get and selling that data to other partners so they can advertise better at you just bought a company that in theory could provide them with a whole new range of data.

What’s Good About Google Buying Nest?

Before we all grab our tinfoil hats let’s look impartially at the issue and consider the good sides. Google are a huge company who can provide financial investment into Nest bringing further products to market and advancing the current lines. Google can also help integrate Nest with other services leading to further applications to these devices. When added into the Google infrastructure these tools become more powerful and their future potential increases as well.

Google also has a history of being very platform agnostic, developing apps for desktop, mobile and (most importantly for them) web applications. I have no doubt that Nest will continue to support the full range of Apple products.

What We’re All Worried About

Imagine someone walking around following you all day with a notepad, a couple of days later they start showing you adverts for different things. Or someone taking your actual mail, flicking through it and adding in an advert to the person who receives the letter, ¬†Although Nest have stated that they have a strict privacy policy that they won’t break, it wouldn’t take much for them to update their privacy policy or provide people with the choice to integrate their services with Google (in exchange for sharing their tracking details).

Whereas, previously, Google tracked what we searched, what we talked about in our messages, what we liked and where we went (if we activated that service) Soon they will have the potential to track how warm your house is, when you are in (and out) when you go to bed and more.

Why I’m More Okay With Apple Having My Tracking Data Than Google

If a company like Apple had bought nest I’d certainly be more happy with it. Where Google needs my data to be successful and then sells that data on, a company like Apple makes money by offering me the best service it can. Apple doesn’t need me to look at adverts, Apple can delight its users without limits where as Google always needs to present an advert to it’s users. Nest might signal a shift in Google’s strategy, where Google looks to make money from selling products but considering the current price of it’s Nexus products I doubt it.

I Won’t Be Buying Any Nest Products

Nest aren’t the only smarthome automation providers and I doubt they will be the last. Although they have provided some great products their tie in with Google is on balance something that I am not keen on. I’m sure their products will get better but there can be costs that come with that.

What do you make of the Nest buy out? Were you interested in Nest Products before the announcement? Are you still?

[Photo Credit: Unhindered by Talent via Compfight cc]

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  1. The real question is “What is the big deal about Nest?” I just can’t see it being useful. Are people’s schedules really that predicable? Sounds like a thermostat for boring people.

    • People are, for the most part, creatures of habit and you’d be surprised how “boring” even the most creative people are. Plus that ignores the benefits of tracking when you are wasting heat, comparing energy bills to the average, finding the best energy provider based on your habits, remote ability to set the temperature and that doesn’t even start to mention the new product of the best protect which you made no reference to. I understand why people wouldn’t want a smart home device but I think it’s harsh to write anyone who has one off as”boring”


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