Considering the search giant’s recent acquisitions – robotics companies, and now a smart thermostats manufacturer, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d all get HAL 9000 in our homes in the near future.
This is not Google’s first try at doing home automation right. Android@Home was the company’s previous attempt at making homes really smart, but unfortunately, the concept didn’t really catch the attention of many people. This time, however, Google is determined not to fail, and the incredible sum the search giant paid for Nest stands as proof of that. Inflation apart, Nest was worth $3.2B in Google eyes, or almost twice it paid for YouTube in 2006 and 64 times more than Android cost it in 2005. That’s quite a lot for a company that manufactures smart thermostats and smoke detectors, wouldn’t you agree?
Well, in Nest’s case, smart means sensor-driven, Wi-Fi enabled, self-learning, and programmable, which means that this company is really not made of amateurs. In fact, Nest was founded in 2010 by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. As a result, some wanted really bad to point out that Google owns now a slice of Apple, since Tony Fadell was Senior VP of the iPod division and one of the fathers of this portable multimedia player. Oh, the irony!
What most people are concerned about is the ability of the smart thermostats and smoke sensors to detect motion. One could argue that the movement detection aspect is all part of a bigger plan, that of ensuring that all the inhabitants of a house are safe in case anything bad happens. But no, paranoid people felt the need to create conspiracy theories according to which Google will control every aspect of our lives when we’re at home. As I mentioned before, I wouldn’t mind letting Google take care of my security and privacy, because I think that this company is really great, in comparison to say… Facebook (which, in case you didn’t know already, has been accused recently of reading the private messages of its users, even the ones that weren’t sent)!
The way I see it, the acquisition of Nest by Google is a (hopefully successful) attempt of personalizing the experience of each user at home according to his or her taste and wishes. If you haven’t paid attention in the past 15 years, Google has struggled really hard to create strong relationships with each of its users.
If you liked this post, please read about how Google acquired Boston Dynamics and the Google robots that write Facebook statuses and tweets.