Google Thermostats: Future Friend or Foe?
The leaders at Google have made it their mission to streamline as many processes as possible by linking everything together through Wi-Fi. They have had impressive success in their endeavor, making it so signing into our gmail accounts can automatically sync our preferences to whatever computer or device we are using. We can stream Google Chrome through our TVs with the new Chromecast and or track our kids in real-time through interconnected GPS devices.
$3 Billion in Thermostats?
Now, it seems like Google may be taking this quest a step further by attempting to seriously enter the market of thermostats after its $3.2 billion deal to acquire Nest, a producer of smart thermostats. Thermostats, though seemingly a trivial piece of hardware found in many of our homes, are actually important devices that can regulate and record many aspects of our home environment. Smart thermostats can record several types of data about your home life like your preferred room temperature, when you are home, and other private information.
Better Experience or Eavesdropping?
Speculations fly about what exactly Google CEO Larry Page has in store for the newly acquired Nest, but he did mention in a statement that "We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!” Page’s allusion to garnering more of a presence in the home is what some people are worried about. Google has already come under fire for being more of a clever ad agency than a source of information, and some people fear that Google will use this opportunity to gather information from people’s smart thermostats to be sold to marketing agencies for demographic information or worse, for malicious use against the clients themselves. Will Google gather data on customer use just to make sure their services are maximized for their clientele or to make it available to competitive companies for their marketing purposes?
A Smart World.
It is hard to tell how Google will develop its newest acquisition and whether it will usher in a newer and closer relationship for Google with its customers, will find no useful place in the market, or will become a tool of intrusion. With more and more aspects of our daily lives becoming digitized and interconnected, it will be interesting to see where the line between knowledge and intrusion is drawn.