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Archive for January, 2014

17
Jan

Google’s empire building continues with its acquisition of Nest

Google doesn’t just want to be your operating system provider, mobile provider, DNS provider, email provider, documents provider, payment gateway of choice and default search engine. They want to be in your home and your car, too:

If you were already worried about the scope of Google’s data mining, news of a recent buyout may have you ready to rip that glowing thermostat from your wall.

Surprising everyone who assumed Apple would’ve been the likeliest parent company for one co-founded by two former Apple engineers, Google announced it has purchased Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. In an official press release, Google confirmed that like Motorola, Nest will continue to operate with its own distinct brand identity which, in the latter’s case, is headed by CEO and “father of the iPod” Tony Fadell.

The Chicago Tribune’s headline, parked atop a story originally written for the Los Angeles Times, says it all: With Nest Labs, Google wants to connect your home to the Internet.

Or as AOL’s Ryan Block tweeted: With Nest’s built-in sensors now Google knows when you’re home, what rooms you’re in, and when you’re out. Just FYI.

Not good. The recent Target data breach, stunning in size and scope, shows just how vulnerable we are in a hyperconnected world. Nest and other companies have lofty ambitions, but in reality their devices are expensive and don’t work very well.

Google executives may envision a future where everything in the home is hooked up to Google’s servers via the Internet. That’s not something any of us should want or need. If garage doors and appliances can be remotely manipulated, they can be hacked and hijacked.

For most of us, our homes are our most sacred place, one of the few places left where we can feel truly alone or free from prying eyes and sensors. Appliance makers should be focusing on conservation and intelligent automation, as opposed to wiring thermostats, fridges, microwaves, dishwashers, washers, dryers, ovens, and toasters to the Internet.