Last Monday the web was buzzing with news of Google’s purchase of Nest Labs for a cool $3.2 billion dollars, making it the company’s biggest acquisition since Motorola. Immediately after the news hit, so did the reports about how a Google-owned Nest could become a major privacy concern.
Not only did we see tons of articles about the potential security and privacy issues raised by the purchase, it didn’t take long before social network and forum posts started showing up from folks who said they were now giving up on Nest. Some existing owners even promised that they would be discontinuing the use of Nest products.
At this point, there are no changes. The data that we collect is all about our products and improving them. Tony FadellCEO of Nest Labs
Going a step further, Fadell vows that, in the event any future changes are made, Nest Labs will be sure to make these revisions in policy opt-in. Furthermore, Fadell pledges to be very transparent about any changes in policy going forward.
In a nutshell, Fadell’s vow suggests that they will likely be changing its user policy in the future (just not now), but at least they will be working to make sure that any changes are optional.
Bottom-line, there are some folks that are concerned that giving Google further access to the Internet of Things opens a door that will allow them to further ‘spy’ on us, collecting even more data about how we live our lives and then they will use that information to monetize us.
Let’s be honest: Of course Google wants more data! That’s their business model, love it or hate it. The more data that Google collects, the better they can improve their existing services and their advertising strategies, bringing them more customers and more money.
Even if you throw out that Nest thermostat, there is arguably very little stopping Google from spying on you through your Android smartphone, through your Chrome browser, and so forth.
The idea that Google can now ‘spy’ on your house is going to be something that keeps some folks up at night. As for me? I personally find it a bit silly to be that concerned with whether Google knows what my house’s temperature is or if my house is on fire. If anything, I look forward to what Google can potentially add to Nest’s existing solutions such as being able to easily set temperatures using Google Now.
Sure, Google’s ambitions for smart homes go beyond Nest’s current product offerings, but ultimately if you truly fear Google, you probably are better off avoiding all their products. Even if you throw out that Nest thermostat, there is arguably very little stopping Google from spying on you through your Android smartphone, through your Chrome browser, and so forth.
It would be naive to say that there are no privacy concerns involved when a massive company like Google has the power to collect our data from a vast array of places/devices, but Google is far from the only company that is out there gathering information about us in order to better monetize us. Not to mention that many of the world’s most powerful governments are doing the same thing, only instead with the promise of providing ‘better security’.
As a writer for Android Authority, I’ll admit that I am the kind of consumer that is more than willing to give up a little perceived privacy in order to receive awesome free services. I understand and respect that not everyone feels this way, however. What do you think of Google’s recent purchase of Nest Labs?
Do you feel that the privacy concerns surrounding the deal are legit, or do you believe that Nest Labs (and Google) are already doing their best to ensure that any privacy changes are for the betterment of their existing products? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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I don’t think Nest was worth that much. However, this is cool, and can’t wait until I can use my Android to control my home.
I’m with you. As I mentioned in the article, I’m not concerned with privacy (in this instance at least) — but I do fully agree that $3.2 billion seems a bit steep, unless there is something about the purchase that we don’t know (which wouldn’t surprise me). Either way, I look forward to what the future brings. :)
to the author, where are your boundaries? do you have any?
I have the Nest and one Protect. As the batteries die in my old smoke detectors we plan to replace them with more Protects.
this is sad for nest, now I will never know the benefits of their devices. sure I have an android phone but I also have limits and boundaries. this is why I don’t own a smart TV and sold the camera on my ps3 bundle and won’t buy a new Xbox. I’m sorry but my home is my castle I don’t want my appliances telling Google what I have in the fridge or taking pictures of me walking around in my boxers. screw biometrics too, I won’t own a finger print scanning phone or retina reading and sure as hell won’t connect implants in my head or wear computers in my eyes. I’m sorry but this “process” is not in our favor.
They already know everything you do online and everywhere you go why does it matter if they know whats in your fridge?
do you mind having cameras watching you as you sleep in your bed? where do you draw the line? give me a break with that “they already know this so might as well tell them that” lol
Its not the temperature that bothers me as much as it is whether I am home… I actually am a huge supporter of the internet of things its more Googles style of what they do with that data… Nest has ignored most of its customers feedback and now we know why as Google pulls the purse strings…. Sad too great hardware
It won’t be Tony’s decision about opt-in or any privacy issues any more. It will be googles now. Sad day for Nest.