Google to Buy Nest for $3.2B
Continues its slow slither into every aspect of our lives
Google has found a way to wriggle into yet another corner of all our lives with its $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest. Nest, if you’re unaware, are the makers of the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Protect smoke/carbon monoxide detector, products created to save energy and the consumer’s money (in the long run, of course—one of their thermostats costs 250 bucks off the shelf), and to make homes safer, respectively.
And, as “connected devices,” Nest’s thermostats and smoke detectors are designed to interface with smart phones, making it possible for users to adjust the heat in their home from anywhere in the world or to receive alerts that their house might just be on fire. When you call this kind of thing “home automation,” it sounds like a good idea. When you use the term “the internet of things,” it sounds like a load of hooey. And, to me, suspicious hooey.
Google has made some well-known (and generally poorly-received) forays into the home market in the past, most notably Google TV, the Nexus Q, and their aborted PowerMeter project, which seems remarkably similar to Nest’s Learning Thermostat. By suddenly buying up a familiar, best-selling product and the company behind it, Google has finally found a way to successfully infiltrate people’s home.
You’re Being Monitored
More than that, they’ve found a way to get more people to willingly connect even more devices, even those that don’t really need to be connected at all—how dang hard is it to manage your thermostat? And, in the end, these connected devices all feed information back to Google. Information about you and your life that you didn’t know was important, but that the G-men can use to further inundate you with ads you didn’t know you wanted to see (because you didn’t) for products you didn’t know you wanted to buy (because you don’t).
Furthermore, it gives Google the ability to track yet more of your moves in the world beyond the internet. Google has long been known to keep tabs on users’ internet searches and activity in order to “bring them the best experience possible”—and if you believe that’s all that Google keeps track of that info for, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
If some of you clowns are comfortable with having one of the most major of all major corporations tracking your every move, then by all means go ahead and hook your house up to their seemingly innocuous surveillance technology. Maybe having Google not-so-secretly spy on you is not as bad as the NSA doing it secretly.
Or maybe its worse because it’s disguised as convenience.