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Google Buys Home Automation Company Nest 257

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the google+-account-required-to-turn-on-lights dept.
JDG1980 writes "Google just announced that they will be purchasing Nest, a company best known for their 'smart' thermostats and smoke detectors, for $3.2 billion in cash. What will this mean for Nest devices going forward — greater integration with Android, perhaps?"
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Google Buys Home Automation Company Nest

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @07:43PM (#45945629)

    What they'll do is track when you're home, what temperature you like your house, whether you're cold at night, etc, and then use it to advertise at you. Isn't that what Google does with everything?

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday January 13, 2014 @07:47PM (#45945673) Homepage Journal

      Google Buys Clippy:

      "I see you are using your heater often. Would you like to purchase soft wool blankets from one of our highly-rated sponsors?"

    • by DaHat (247651) on Monday January 13, 2014 @07:48PM (#45945685) Homepage

      You forgot "requiring Google+ integration for managing your NEST".

      • by lgw (121541) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:11PM (#45945879) Journal

        Slashdot 2015: Google announces end of life for Nest products, citing low advertising revenue from the platform.

        Oh, well, one gone, but three more will pop up hoping for that multi-billion buyout.

        • by fyngyrz (762201)

          I've been avoiding buying a Nest because of reports of sensitivity to RFI, RF, and ESD, and reports of really unfriendly failure modes: failure to heat when really cold; failure to shut off heating when away; these seem very serious to me. I really like the idea, but it seems the execution might leave a bit to be desired as yet.

          I don't put ultimate faith in Amazon reviewers by any means (tho I r one, lol), but this is worth looking over [amazon.com]

          • by Richy_T (111409)

            From comparative reading, it appears the HP one has the upper hand. It's still a bit rich for my blood but I may bite at some point.

        • by tlhIngan (30335) <<ten.frow> <ta> <todhsals>> on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:04PM (#45946281)

          Slashdot 2015: Google announces end of life for Nest products, citing low advertising revenue from the platform.

          And yet, Nest has a nice screen on it (not touch). Which can display ads while the thermostat is otherwise idle... what possible use could the homeover have to seeing the set temperature all day? Why not just use that idle screen space to display ads?

          • Because most of us would rather not whore out our homes to an indoor mini-billboard.

            • by cdrudge (68377)

              No, we decide to whore out our homes with an indoor larger format billboard. Usually in the 40-60" range but sometimes smaller or even larger. Many people even pay a chunk of change for the opportunity to pay for the ads on said billboard.

      • by Richy_T (111409)

        There's a strong possibility you (and others) think you're joking.

        Many a true word spoken in jest.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      What they'll do is track when you're home, what temperature you like your house, whether you're cold at night, etc, and then use it to advertise at you. Isn't that what Google does with everything?

      "???" "The toast is always burnt, stove/oven rarely used, but microwave runs for 10 minutes every day about 9 PM and all wash loads are done in Whites Cycle" "???"

      "Bachelor - send him a bunch of singles site link ads."

    • by msauve (701917) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:07PM (#45945849)
      New Google advertising jingle:

      We see you when you're sleeping
      we know when you're awake
      we'll tell you what you want to buy
      so you better buy stuff for Google's sake

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:23PM (#45945999)

      Pretty much. [techcrunch.com] To quote the relevant part:

      Will Nest customer data be shared with Google?

      Our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services. We’ve always taken privacy seriously and this will not change.

      If they had plans to keep Nest's data away from Google after the acquisition, they'd have said it plainly as they have with everything else they say. The fact that they aren't doing that here makes it pretty clear what their intent is.

      I have a Nest thermostat and have loved it, but I'm actually kinda glad I ran into some financial issues that led to my cancelling my pre-order for Protect smoke/CO detector for my entire house. I definitely won't be buying them now, and I'll be seriously considering whether or not I keep my thermostat.

      • by tlhIngan (30335) <<ten.frow> <ta> <todhsals>> on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:59PM (#45946241)

        If they had plans to keep Nest's data away from Google after the acquisition, they'd have said it plainly as they have with everything else they say. The fact that they aren't doing that here makes it pretty clear what their intent is.

        Well, all it takes is for Google to "unify" the privacy policy of Nest with the rest of the Google privacy policy.

        And yes, they probably give you an opt-out, in which case your Nest becomes a dumb thermostat because access via the (now-defunct iOS version) smartphone apps and web access require accepting G+ and the new privacy policy.

        (And note to Apple, Google and Microsoft - please, can you stop buying up companies that make apps and discontinuing the competing versions? I know it's probably good for business, but c'mon now. There's nothing wrong with seeing Google and Microsoft in the Apple App Store, Apple and Microsoft in Google Play and Apple and Google in Microsoft Store...).

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          Wait, do you mean "defunct iOS version" because of your theoretical opt out or because of Android?

          If the latter, Google still does tons of iOS apps, and IIRC, there were news articles showing that Google itself makes more money from its iOS apps than its own Android apps/system (yes, I know it's not entirely free.. if companies want to use the Google store, etc., they have to pay).

  • I wonder what that means for their unholy pact with Intellectual Ventures that Nest made not that long ago. I swore off ever buying one of their products because of that, and will continue as long as that deal remains in force.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      I wonder what that means for their unholy pact with Intellectual Ventures that Nest made not that long ago. I swore off ever buying one of their products because of that, and will continue as long as that deal remains in force.

      You'll cave in when your house tells you what's good for you and like it!

      • by raydobbs (99133)

        When a structure starts talking to me in a literal voice telling me about what is good for >me is about the time I visit a doctor about needing some strong anti-crazy medication.... and a realty agent to get rid of the house.

      • You'll cave in when your house tells you what's good for you and g+ it!

        FTFY.

  • Unless Google WONT be using the temperature I set it at for marketing purposes. I get enough robo-calls about solar, heating, etc as it is.
    • by kwerle (39371)

      Unless Google WONT be using the temperature I set it at for marketing purposes. I get enough robo-calls about solar, heating, etc as it is.

      Really? I added myself to the do not call registry and no longer get any.

      In addition, I mostly use google voice - which means that a lot of political calls go straight to spam instead of connecting to me, too. Thank you, google, for plugging the political loophole on the registry...

      Kurt

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Google voice sticks me with two entry points, my GV number and my "real" number. Twice the opportunity to get spammed -- although, yes, the Google entry point gets very little.

      • by msauve (701917)
        Your phone is borken if you don't get calls from Rachel at cardholder services.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday January 13, 2014 @07:50PM (#45945707) Homepage Journal

    TV watches itself for YOU!

    it also orders stuff on line you might like.

  • More targeted ads? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pirogoeth (662083) <mailbox@@@ikrug...com> on Monday January 13, 2014 @07:55PM (#45945743) Homepage Journal

    "We've noticed that you've been running your furnace a lot recently. Here's a list of insulation installers in your area that you might be interested in."

  • It is a great device and I know it has saved me money during long hot summers.

    If you are worried about privacy, turn off your cell phones and computers. You've already been pwned.
    • It is a great device and I know it has saved me money during long hot summers. If you are worried about privacy, turn off your cell phones and computers. You've already been pwned.

      Just because you've been pwned, doesn't mean you can't get pwned even more. Like how losing your virginity doesn't mean you can't get screwed again.

      Wait, a car analogy would be more appropriate (and relevant): Just because you've already had a flat tire doesn't mean you can't get another.

  • google + posts when your smoke detectors goes off just hope that it does not need to be on line to work.

  • $3.2B (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:00PM (#45945779)

    Ridiculous sum of money for Nest. Google is starting to look like a has been trying to buy their way to relevance like Microsoft.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      Given the market for Nest Protect is about 150 million times x3 (or more) in the US alone (and unlike thermostats, there is really currently nothing like it), it may not be that out of line. Especially since they need to be replaced every 10 years. And Nest now has a track record for fantastic products (who knows what they are working on next?)

      Valuations are based more on predicted future revenue than current. Otherwise none of these recent IPOs or acquisitions would be worth *anything*.

      • by alen (225700)

        some of us aren't dumb enough to spend all that money for a thermostat. just weatherproof your home to keep the hot and cold air in depending on the season and don't worry about the avalanche of data or running your heater or AC before you get home

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Why do they need to be replaced every 10 years? Do you just mean "planned obsolescence", or something actually breaking/wearing out that that needs replacing?

        Even if Google stops putting out software/fixes for it, I can't imagine a current one just stops working (as well as it currently does) in 10 years.

    • I'm not going to pretend I know how much companies are worth, but I don't believe you know either.
      • Neither does Google. Paying this much money for such a small young company is pure speculation. Kindda reminds me of their YouTube purchase. Even though YouTube is quite popular, it hasn't been a big financial success for them, last I heard.

    • Google's disposable income, with annual revenue in the neighborhood of 50 billion $US, is surely enough to cover even the impulse buy of an over-rated wi-fi thermostat company.

      Thing is, occasionally the stars line up just right, and the Guys smart enough to charge anybody fifty thousand million dollars in one year's billings turn out to be right.

    • Maybe they're just trying to ruin their return on equity (ROE), which currently is an unspectacular 16% [yahoo.com].

      If they were following Microsoft's playbook, they might be trying to avoid expensive acquisitions so that their highly profitable company could achieve a very respectable ROE of 30% [yahoo.com]. Most of Microsoft's bad investments are organic, not acquisitions, e.g. Bing. In fact, I can't remember the last time Microsoft shelled out even a measly billion dollars for an acquisition. Losing money organically is real

  • To analyze my shit and customize advertising based on my dietary preferences.
  • by chrisgeleven (514645) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:04PM (#45945813) Homepage

    I'm willing to give Nest and Google the benefit of the doubt. Supposedly Nest has claimed in interviews after the news broke that their privacy policy is very strict and limits the info Nest gathers to Nest products only. If that is the case, and more importantly, their privacy policy doesn't change in the future, I'll stay a happy customer.

    If there is evidence of Google doing evil, then it's easy to create an eBay listing.

    • by Trashcan Romeo (2675341) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:10PM (#45945865)
      That assurance should last as long as "We won't track your data across services" did.
    • All EULA also contains clauses like "We can change the terms of this agreement at will." And once it got enough penetration, a letter/email looking a like a junk will be sent to you inbox/mailbox with a lengthy legal statement of the changes and guaranteed 99% will not ever read and remaining 99% will not care a damn thing.

      In this country, we cook you like frog in slow cooker powered by fine prints.

  • Chromecast it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:06PM (#45945839) Homepage Journal
    So, the AC unit can be the master, with wifi, that also connects to the smoke alarms around the house with wifi, with speakers... I'm sensing the chance for streaming music wherever you go in the house. Notifications, warnings where you left the phone. More of the chromecast model of a fairly basic module that's controlled through the phone's UI and just streams. To have these neat devices ONLY used for fire/ac, when they could have so much more running? Lots of potential. Tied in with your phone, and it's location, so as you're returning from work, crank up the heat/AC as needed. Maybe tie it into Google Glass so you can wander around the house and SEE the temp and control it with a few blinks? Very very cool, hopefully Google won't dump it but really go all out to make it the base of an Aware House.
  • and Google can't grab information from your Nest, the unit will shutdown your furnace until you get that connection back up.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:11PM (#45945881) Homepage Journal
    I own a warehouse and have to pay a security firm to receive emergency signals for freezing (pipes!) and smoke or overheating. I'd like to be able to monitor it myself. I'd live with ads if i can reduce what I pay the security company. Seems kind of obvious.
    • by Swampash (1131503)

      I own a warehouse and have to pay a security firm to receive emergency signals for freezing (pipes!) and smoke or overheating. I'd like to be able to monitor it myself.

      That will require a Google+ account.

  • by AaronW (33736) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:15PM (#45945917) Homepage

    I own a Nest thermostat and while it's a great and innovative device I don't see the company being worth $3.2B. There are also a lot of other new Internet enabled smoke detectors coming out. I looked at their smoke detectors but in many jurisdictions they can't be legally installed since smoke detectors are required to have a hard-wire connection such that if one goes off they all go off. Since Nest does this wirelessly it's not allowed. They're also incompatible with all the other smoke detectors and alarm systems and are quite expensive for what they are. I looked into this since I just wired in a bunch of 2-wire (12v) smoke detectors into my alarm system. I picked up a combination smoke/CO detector with heat sensor that integrates into my alarm system for $80.

    Now what would be cool is for someone to integrate a good wireless AP with a smoke detector though I think the smoke detector signalling should remain separate (at least here in California they require using special fire alarm wire for hooking up fire related stuff).

  • by AaronW (33736) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:36PM (#45946083) Homepage

    Many areas of the country, i.e. California, require that for new installations that all of the smoke detectors be wired together using special wire. In my case I just installed a bunch of 2-wire smoke detectors that tie into my monitored alarm system. I had to use special fire alarm wire and the 2 and 4-wire smoke detector hookups are at least somewhat standardized (you don't want to mix brands though) as are the hard-wired AC smoke detectors. Nest wireless smoke detectors can't interface with other smoke detectors or alarm systems and they don't meet the hard-wire connection requirement between detectors. Many people in the Nest forums have complained about this. While it's cool it will help the Nest thermostat keep track of if the house is occupied or not until they provide the proper hard-wired hookups they're not even legal for new installations or even replacing smoke detectors in existing installations.

    • by Rick Zeman (15628)

      Many areas of the country, i.e. California, require that for new installations that all of the smoke detectors be wired together using special wire. In my case I just installed a bunch of 2-wire smoke detectors that tie into my monitored alarm system. I had to use special fire alarm wire and the 2 and 4-wire smoke detector hookups are at least somewhat standardized (you don't want to mix brands though) as are the hard-wired AC smoke detectors. Nest wireless smoke detectors can't interface with other smoke detectors or alarm systems and they don't meet the hard-wire connection requirement between detectors. Many people in the Nest forums have complained about this. While it's cool it will help the Nest thermostat keep track of if the house is occupied or not until they provide the proper hard-wired hookups they're not even legal for new installations or even replacing smoke detectors in existing installations.

      That's not exactly true. The law says that they need to be interconnected, and Nest Protects do amongst themselves using 802.11, or falling back to 802.15.4. The requirement that they be hard-wired was dropped a few years back. In essence, if you replace one wired detector with a Nest your should replace all of them...which gets Quite Damn Expensive since they can't interconnect with any wired device.

    • I live in California, and I will do whatever I want. I just bought a nest protect because it looks cool, and want to try it out. It will be an improvement over my last smoke detector system (i.e. a baseplate with nothing in it). Even if the previous owner left the smoke detector, there would only be one of them.

      The way I see it, my new smoke detector will be hard wired to all the other smoke detectors in the house (i.e. all zero of them), just like how the previous owners had it.

      I'm really not sure if ha

      • by AaronW (33736)

        As I said they use special wire for fire alarms. Also, by law it is now required that every bedroom must have a working smoke detector. The last time I had a building inspector come around to inspect having my main electrical panel replaced he had to verify that there were adequate smoke detectors and that there was also a CO detector installed.

        You also can't just use any old wire for the signalling for smoke detectors. At least with the two wire smoke detector setup like I use the central alarm will detect

        • This all sounds very expensive. While I agree it is better to be safe than sorry in some abstract sense, I don't think it makes sense to spend any dollar amount to be any amount safer. I can't help but think there are probably better ways of spending that money, even if safety was my #1 goal (e.g. buying a safer car, buying better health insurance, etc).
  • What will this mean for Nest devices going forward — greater integration with Android, perhaps?

    It will probably mean the lack of integration with any non-Android device.

  • by Camembert (2891457) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:01PM (#45946253)
    Apple bought a home automation company some time ago. A sensible rumor is that the upcoming iwatch could also be used to for example remotely dim your living room lights, etc. I can see Google aiminh for a similar path forward.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now applies to Google.

    Except, instead of buying competition, Google buys innovative companies with paradigm-shifting products, neglects them, and then kills them for lack of revenue.

    Google is not evil, just negligent.

  • between spending those modpoints,

    and saying the inevitable 'all your temperatures are belong to us'

    dang!

  • It would be interesting to see what patents Google will be picking up with this. It's hard to see US$3.2 billion in value given the limited range of products Nest currently sell, however if there is some latent IP that Google can leverage then there might be some cool stuff coming out of this.
  • At least that built in microphone will be put to good use.

  • Is it me or did Google just kick off the Internet of Things [wikipedia.org] as the next big thing after social networking...with all these automation acquisitions in the last couple of months?

  • ... to lose my trust in Nest [postimg.org].

  • our new thermal overlords.

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