Google Inc. has acquired, at the price tag of $3.8 billion, another tech company called Nest. Nest is a company that develops electronic, Wi-Fi enabled thermostats. These thermostats, called the Nest Learning Thermostat, are capable of both analyzing your temperature preferences and they are able to detect when you are home. The founders of Nest, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, will also be joining the Google along with their company.
Google and Nest both have a lot to bring to each other’s table. Google would be able to provide its incredibly accurate location data to Nest and its presence on Smart Phones. Ron Amadeo writes, “An easy, low-power way to detect location would be to use a resident’s smartphone and Wi-Fi as an “at home” indicator. Just register each smartphone as a member of the household in the Nest app, and as long as one of those devices is connected to the home Wi-Fi SSID, Nest could safely assume that someone is at home. Or, Google Maps can predict the time it takes to arrive home, and Nest can predict the time it takes to warm a house up; by combining those two pieces of information, the Nest could kick on in advance of someone arriving home and have the house at an appropriate temperature by the time a household member arrives.” All while Google is able to take home information, which could provide very useful to advertisers or any other buyer, about temperature in your home, how often you enter and exit the house, and through their smoke detector product, they can tell how often these smoke detectors are set off.
While these all seem very specific and minor pieces of information, they can prove valuable to a few unique markets. There is speculation that Google is using this as an introduction into connected home devices, and allowing Google software/hardware into the home. Google could either use Nest engineers to develop more household goods, or acquire more businesses that focus on “smart technology” in the house. The more household goods developed under Google, the more data Google can collect and advertising markets they can serve. As the world becomes more and more connected, it is hardly a surprise that Google would want influence in these emerging technologies. However, it poses a few questions:
“How will Google store the data for Nest?”
“Will Nest data solely be used for the product itself?”
“Will Google sell this information off to potential advertisers?”
“What other implications could Google’s acquisition of Nest have?”
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PC World Article: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2087520/why-google-paid-32-billion-for-thermostat-startup-nest.html
Arstechnica Article: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/01/the-battle-for-the-home-why-nest-is-really-googles-new-smart-home-division/
Google Official Announcement: http://investor.google.com/releases/2014/0113.html
Nest Website: https://nest.com/
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