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Archive for June, 2014

23
Jun

Google begins selling domains itself through a “small private beta”

Demonstrating once again that there is no market in the online realm that it doesn’t want a piece of, Google has begun selling domains directly in what TechCrunch reports is a “small private beta”. That means Google isn’t allowing just anybody to buy a domain through them. But that could soon change. After all, Gmail began as a small private beta, and then a larger invitation-only beta, and eventually anyone was allowed to sign up and create an account.

For the past few years, anyone looking to Google to buy a domain has been met with this support page, which proclaims that “Google itself doesn’t register or host domain names,” before recommending up a few partners who do.

That changes today.

Google has just launched a small private beta for a domain registration service that it’s aptly dubbed “Google Domains.” You can find the largely locked down landing page for the service here.

And talk about timing: On June 9, GoDaddy finally filed for the IPO that it’s been mulling since at least 2006. Two weeks later, Google publicly announces plans to get into the domain registration market. Up until now, GoDaddy was even one of the partners that Google recommended. That can’t feel great.

No it can’t, but GoDaddy is hardly a responsible or ethical company either. Fortunately, GoDaddy has competitors that are… Namecheap and Tucows/Hover.

Google’s experimentation with selling domains is predictable. An unstated goal of Google is to be everyone’s provider and filter for everything: browser maker, email provider, repository for storage of documents and data, DNS provider, operating system distributor, search and ecommerce portal… the list goes on and on. At this point, Google is competing with just about every firm that sells software or support for software. Google’s specialty is entering markets and corralling market share over time; consider how Google Search, Gmail, and Chrome became ubiquitous. And, like Amazon, it is increasingly getting into hardware itself, too, making it a bigger competitor with Microsoft’s traditional partners and Apple.

There has never been a better time to leave Google behind and cut ties with the Monster of Mountain View. Users should free themselves from Google dependence and discover what the Web has to offer.

23
Jun

Google gobbles up Dropcam through its new Nest subsidiary

The Monster of Mountain View has made another acquisition. Through its new Nest subsidiary, it has purchased startup home surveillance equipment maker Dropcam.

Dropcam, the popular home monitoring camera startup, will be acquired by Nest, maker of smart thermostats and smoke detectors. The deal is worth $555 million in cash.

Of course, Nest itself was just bought by Google four months ago for $3.2 billion. It is undertaking the acquisition itself, outside of Google. Dropcam will be folded into Nest’s brand, company culture and privacy policy, said Matt Rogers, Nest co-founder and VP of engineering, in an interview Friday.

“The teams are very well-aligned and we love the product,” Rogers said. “We both think about the entire user experience from the unboxing on. We both care deeply about helping people stay connected with their homes when they’re not there.”

Rogers said the deal was signed today and has yet to close. The Dropcam team plans to move from San Francisco to Nest’s offices in Palo Alto, Calif.

Dropcam has never disclosed sales, but it is routinely the top-selling security camera on Amazon, and it recently branched into selling in retail stores like Apple and Best Buy. The company’s newest camera sells for $199, and a version with lower resolution and less field of view sells for $149.

Given that Google’s business model is based on the eradication of privacy and the establishment of universal surveillance, Dropcam is a perfect addition. Google already tracks its users’ whereabouts, activities, interests and likes; the acquisition of Dropcam could allow Google to peer into users’ homes. Of course, Nest claims its privacy policy is “separate” from Google’s, and pledges that won’t change. But that pledge is totally worthless, and we suspect, quite temporary.