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Google is creepy, but you shouldn't automatically fear it invading your Nest

Susie Ochs | Jan. 15, 2014
You can't be a player in the Internet of Things without things, preferably really nice things. But Google's a data company, never forget.

But that push toward integration also means the bigger companies will probably take over—it's doubtful this is the last acquisition we'll hear about. And big companies have the best chance of figuring out the critical ecosystem synergy (to use an evil term) that will leave the competition in the dust. While people are growing more wary of letting one huge company like Samsung or Google have access to so much data, at least Google is better suited to creating an open platform than a company like Samsung or LG.

All companies are data companies
Nest's Tony Fadell told Nilay Patel of the Verge (on two occasions) that Nest wasn't about the products it was about building the company. Google and Facebook know you can make a heck of a lot of money being a great data company—Instagram was only worth a billion dollars because of the huge wealth of data a good photo-sharing network can compile about the people who use it.

Nest's products work great for the consumers, but they could also be a treasure trove of data about your home and your habits. Right now the privacy policy states that only Nest is allowed to use this data, and only for the purposes of providing you service and improving its products. In other words, Google won't be serving up Snuggie ads to people who like to keep their thermostats low anytime soon—but privacy policies change all the time.

Worrying if your $250 smart thermostat is tattling on your whereabouts to Google is a first-world problem for sure. But it will be interesting to find out how Google wraps this acquisition into a complete connected home. And it will be even more interesting to see if the customers who happily invited Nest into their homes will be quite so welcoming to Google.


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