Google Reaches into Homes with Nest Acquisition
On January 13, 2014 Google acquired Nest Lab, Inc. for $3.2 billion. Currently, Nest only sells two products designed to make life easier for its consumers: a thermostat and a smoke/ carbon monoxide detector. However, what makes these devices unique is the innovative qualities the creators included to save energy and make managing a person’s home easier. Both devices can be controlled by a person’s smartphone. Through the smartphone a person can adjust the temperature in his home. The application the consumer’s phone has installed also receives notifications that inform the owner when the detector senses smoke or carbon monoxide gas, where the threat is located, and the seriousness of the threat. This is only possible though by these allowing these devices to track a person’s or family’s habits over time.
The devices learn the household habits, and can eventually determine the difference between when there is an actual fire, or if it is simply toast burning while cooking breakfast. Additionally, the thermostat collects a household’s information and can adjust the temperature in the home by determining the times that people are in the house and when people are at school or work to save energy and lower a consumer’s heat and air conditioning bills. Although these are common items, the innovative features included with the two devices change the meaning of a “smart house.” By connecting smart phones and household devices through data collection, Nest makes people’s lives easier, but some wonder at what price?
With technological advances pushing privacy boundaries, people are beginning to question whether the advancements are worth allowing companies inside their homes and their lives. The more connected our lives become to technology, the more we allow others the ability to interfere with our lives. Hackers have been around for decades, but what happens if someone could hack our homes? It seems like a ridiculous concept, but as technology advances the ability to get into a person’s life and now home increases as well. This reality creates a tough decision, but eventually people will need to decide which is more important, convenience or their privacy.
More information regarding Nest Lab, Inc. products can be found at www.nest.com.