..would things be any better if it was Microsoft or Apple who had bought them? I seriously doubt it would be given their business practices. At least Google are relatively platform agnostic and make a lot of their APIs open.
Google’s proposed $3.2bn purchase of Nest Labs, a maker of internet-connected round-the-home devices, shows that the online advertising giant considers the Internet of Things a serious proposition. A very serious proposition. It’s easy to be dismissive of the move. Nest is best known for an internet-enabled thermostat and a …
The Google version will be to bombard your device with sponsored adverts for Wooly Jumpers, live sheep versions included.
If Google thinks that it is going to get ANY data about what is going on inside my house (apart from my use of google for searching then they are very much mistaken.
The same goes for the likes of LG/Samsung who want me to connect my TV to the internet just so that they can see what I'm watching and sell that data to the TV companies/advertisers
You can add to this list any other company/NCS/GCHQ/FIS that feels that it has and dibs on my personal data. I already use a number of different VM for all my financial transactions. Once used they are deleted and replaced with my baseline clean copy.
Give these leeches my data?
No, never, no-way, No!
In order not to give them an easy target I am posting this as AC.
If Apple bought them, it would be really expensive, have less functionality, but be reliable & easy to use.
If MS bought them, decent price, loads of functionality, unreliable and difficult to use.
Google will probably get it 'just right', but who wants all their data going to Google? Not me, thanks, I'll take MS incompetence every time.
Actually, I *would* rather Microsoft or Apple.
In both cases they may try and sell me things. In Google's case over 90% of their income is derived from selling access to me and my habits (albeit at arms length and hence 'anonymously'). Of the three, Google have by far the greatest incentive to be a privacy problem.
As regards platform-agnostic? Well, they are when it suits them (as are all of them) - see for example Windows Phone with its second place in 24 markets and yet Google produce nothing for it save a minimal browser app. I understand why (WP is MS tech) but it isn't agnostic to ignore a platform used by tens of millions of people.
And open? It always amazes me that people seriously praise Google for it's open nature. They are open in everything apart from the one thing that brings them their 90+% income (their ad system). In other words, they are open when (and only when) it won't actually cost them more than peanuts (I know Android costs them, but that's a trojan horse to feed the ads empire).
Again, I understand. And it is their right to retain commercial secrets. I just despair though when openness advocates big up Google for the (for them) tiny contributions they make whilst ignoring that they retain their crown jewels. At least MS and Apple don't try and play the ecosystem-reputation game that sneakily.
I would also rather trust Microsoft or Apple. Yes, you pay for the product you get but they don't harvest data on your habits which they then sell. As such, to make a profit out of you, they do not need to sell data on you to someone else.
Google, on the other hand, offer everything for "free" then make their money by selling advertising, and also selling tracking data.they have on you So, of course, it's in their interest to track you.
It's also worth noting that Apple are actually quite open about what they do use personal data for. Something which, in my experience, cannot be said about Google.
It's actually quite scary how much data google does apparently have on it's users. Thanks to Android, they have access to where you are at any given time. They also have access to your contacts, as well as what apps you use/games you play. Thanks to Gmail, they have access to a lot of your emails. They also operate email services for a lot of companies and other organisations but in the spirit of fairness, I am assuming that these have privacy clauses that Google honours.
If you sign in to Google, they also track what types of pages you view (the Google ads code sends back some details of the page it is running on) as well as any search terms you use.
Now, with Nest, they'll probably know what temperature you like to have your home at at any given time.
Add in Google + and you might as well forget about privacy all together.
You don't get it.
It does not matter WHO owns or controls these devices, the point is, it's collecting and selling data on us; turning us, our habbits, our lifestyle, our activities, into a product for them to sell as they see fit. I OWN ALL OF THAT!
As far as I and many others are concerned, it's no different than if somebody came over and raided your refrigerator, or stole electricity from you, or took gas out of your car.
People will use whatever means they have to in order to protect their own domain.
There is an old saying: "Stay out of people's bedroom". And to be clear, it means stay out of their personal space and domain.
Interesting article at theVerge... not so much on the purchase, as on everyone's reaction to it. A few years ago, most people who have had a positive response to it. Google seem to have lost a lot of people's trust.
Instead, there’s a chorus of concern — some sincere, some contrived, but all of it grounded in fear of an unchecked Google.
Google definitely have lost my trust (they aren't the only ones but they are a primary one).
The more connected the world the less secure I'm feeling. Sad but true.
> Google definitely have lost my trust
All of them have lost mine, especially when it comes to mobile devices. The prevailing attitude appears to be, if its on a phone, I'm allowed to give you a free game and slurp all your data.
On a desktop, we call that malware. Actually we call it malware on a phone too.
What I want is companies to give cast-iron guarantees that their software only does what you expect. That means I don't want your cloud, I want my device to do the processing itself. I want a hardware off switch for the GPS and wireless. I'm happy to pay for mapping, download it to my phone and run all the processing there with no live uplink to anywhere.
"A few years ago, most people who have had a positive response to it. Google seem to have lost a lot of people's trust."
While that maybe true; it doesn't automatically mean those people will stop using their services. So in the end I think Google will most likely care less what people think. An attitude which seems to slowly, but steadily, manifest itself as of late (at least that's my impression of it).
Think YouTube. Many people cried out when Google demanded usage of their social media site (Google Rings or Circles or such (I can't be bothered to look it up)), and they even started protesting in the comment sections on many movie. But by doing so automatically also making it very clear that while they claim not to like the whole thing they still went along with it. I didn't want to get linked to social media either, but I stuck with my principles and thus I can't comment on Youtube videos for quite a while now. Can't say I get the feeling to be missing out on something though.
So I think that's what's to be expected. People may complain, but I bet there will be very few who will stick with their principles and most will just go along with it all.
And 50 years from now many will wonder how it ever happened that a company could become so influential and powerful, even though we learned a lot from Microsoft's actions. Yeah right! :P
"... many will wonder how it ever happened that a company could become so influential and powerful ...".
Because tech media is not spreading this message to non-techie in proper context.
How many reviewers mention why the Moto G (or Nexus) is so cheap, in the same article? They mention subsidy, but not linked to your privacy. They think it is about keeping the article to the point, but the context misses to reach the consumer who only goes to CNET for phone reviews.
From the Verge article: "Google clarified that a controversial plan to let Google+ users easily email nearly anyone on Gmail would be more private for "high-profile" users.
Evidently the world will be divided into two classes: common trash, and "high profile users" whom Google will allow a bit more privacy. (Of course I am omitting the much smaller third class: top Google employees and stockholders, who will be permitted to opt out of Google's data collection completely.)
Rewind tape to the 1950s and you can see this all over again.
In the 1950s everyone looked forward to a bright new technology-enabled future. Science could do no wrong and everyone wanted to be in on the game. Then in the 1960s technology started to lose its bloom and the anti-techs started to rise. We had Silent Spring and all that building up a picture that technology/science are evil.
Then in 2000 the whole internet revolution really hit its straps. The internet could do no wrong. Internet everything. Web everything whether it makes sense or not. Google is the ultimate part of the web - being able to find stuff. Then the surveillance concerns (always there) became mainstream and people start to worry more about the potential downsides. Now people don't want to be found.
These cycles are just part of human nature. They will continue forever.
Because I will stick with 'My Internet of Things' (tm) .. aka Arduino powered sensor cubes built and programmed by myself .. all data kept in my-cloud, secured with keys from my PKI, controlled by my code built upon the shoulders of Open Source giants.
+ RasPi based in-car PC with 3G, wifi router, ODB-II interface and GPS - v1.0 in use securely passing telemetry back home
+ Weather Station - in use for last 4 years
+ Central Heating controller - in use with bluetooth interface, RTC and remote control API
+ Alarm status monitor - almost built
+ Room monitor cubes (PIR / occupancy + humidity + temp + mains relay) - initial prototype design
+ RasPi based network hub - initial prototype built
Network hub will collate inside and outside sensor information and uses calendar events, weather trends and car telemetry to allow heuristic heating / lighting / alerting home automation functions.
Don't worry, I am sure they will integrate Facebook and twitter for the idiots out there who want people to know exactly what temperature their house is at...
Next will be the fridge, so your midnight snack is tweeted.
Then the TV, just imagine the tweets... 'john bloggs is watching television X'
Soon your toilet, "John Bloggs has taken a big dump!"
"That server technology can undoubtedly scale far beyond the traffic Nest currently handles"
And you undoubtedly know this because? Just because a company / service has low traffic atm does not mean they are capable of handling more. A poor architecture and bad programming may not show at low traffic levels but they undoubtedly will with more traffic.
Maybe report facts rather than your bad assumptions?
"forcing anyone using a product based on Nest technology to adopt Google as a service provider (again as Android users must)."
I'd like to introduce you to this little thing called the Kindle Fire. You've probably never heard of it because they aren't very popular and are only sold by a very small niche company but it runs Android and does not require or even have Google as a service provider.
That's a definition of 'willing' which I wasn't aware of previously.
The amount of data Google collects through all kinds of hooks in all kinds of widely used scripts in just about everybody's websites is staggering, and only those that know about how to block those scripts without fubaring the website involved (if the latter bit is sufficiently important) and on the other hand not care enough to do so could be said to willingly hand over that data.
Visit any site using any of the following and Google know you (and be aware your browser string alone has enough ancillary info to make you virtually unique without cookies):
Google Web Fonts
Google CDN and script servers
Google+ button (even if you don't click it)
And probably more ...
The only thing that breaks websites if blocked are Google script servers.
I know this because I block everything else.
Dumbo design, that fails to cope with the noise, stresses, and human factors that users experience cause product failures that could be uncovered by beta testing in accurate simulations of the users world. Smart-use of annonomous statistical data about the environment on the road, in the store and at home are at the heart of successfully Google services. Lazy lab rats should get out of their labs to make sure that their field tests represent the users' world. Search Plus Users World is about personal service. Nest is an opportunity to encrypt home data everywhere it persists and use it only consistent with user service.
(nor want) a shiny blue disc-shaped spy on the wall. As far as I'm concerned, they can spend 200 billion on this purchse, who cares? The only thing that concerns me is that, by being a global "trend-setter" (yuk!), and because their devices will become a de facto "standard", they will force the "connectiveness" into being a legal requirement. Or, simply by squeezing non-connected devices out of production.
All I care about on the great google data slurp is, that if I buy a washing machine with this trash installed, will there be a network card I can easily remove to ensure my stuff isn't being sent to the overlord in Cali or do I have to get a screwdriver and pliers out to take the machine apart and then put it through a shredder?
When they start paying me hard cash for my data then they can have it, until then telling me how to save energy is a waste of time. Many free websites already exist which do that for free and don't ask for anything in return. Hell I could write one, turn down the thermostat and switch the lights off. Easy. Sorted.
This is just another data land grab dressed up as a "service" to mine data and flog it to anyone that wants it.
Buy 'n' Large here we come.
Also why is this spying allowed in any way, shape or form?
Government agencies require a judge issued warrant to look at anything an internet user searches for, phone calls etc. Why can these companies do the same thing with a few shady lines in their T&Cs?
Some of the new cards power themselves of errant radio signals in your house, WiFi, TV or radio waves etc so don't need to be powered.
These can run a radio transmitter that can send it's own signal, all low powered of course so not much range however, what are the chances it will connect to your Android run phone or the streetview car cruising past your house and send the data on that way whether you agree or not?
For google plugging the fridge in will be accepting the lack of privacy T&Cs
Unless the tracking chip can be physically removed they'll find a way to take the data whether you want to give it to them or not.
Unfortunately, it's relatively easy for them to make the tracking chip very difficult to remove. Just integrate it (or it's functionality) with one of the other chips that modern fridges inexplicably need to keep something cold.
*wishes for a return to the days of fridges just having a pump, some piping and the minimal circuitry required to control the pump..
That's right folks - we use your information to provide an improved service to our, eh, "special" customer. Available soon our new thermostat with FREE webcam!
I am looking forward to these Internet of Thing or Cloud Controlled Thermostats.
My wife would welcome the day that when the termperature drops it would then either stoke up the fire or put another log onto the burner. I just can't see how these clever people at the Chocolate Factory are going to manage this but I will certainly buy one (on a trial basis, of course) to see how it's done.
Well, we do have a form of Cloud Controlled Thermostat here in North Wales; when the cloud comes I light the fire.
"I just can't see how these clever people at the Chocolate Factory are going to manage this" - oh, but you're missing a critical piece of the puzzle. Just wait until the Housekeeping GBot comes out (with built-in blue/red LED lighting to appropriately indicate current degree of evilness at all times). I'm sure it will be happy to light the fire for you logs and all, whether or not you want it lit, in the burner or otherwise...
If I were selling the technology I would probably argue cost savings -
When the time comes that leccy companies have variable charging you will have to micro-manage your consumption to ensure you maximise your cost savings. That is only going to be fully achievable if you have it done by a computer. There are savings to be had today with careful management and an automated, integrated approach to energy use which you are likely already missing out on.
Rather than having your heating system, fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, backup server, battery and electric car chargers, etc, each working out if it's cheaper to start-up now, hold off for a while, or start earlier than scheduled, it is easier and cheaper to have a single server crunch the numbers and tell the devices what to do and when.
And you don't need a personal server when we already have one in the cloud ready to go. Our system which integrates everything and even caters for any self-sufficiency generation you have will be far easier to use and set-up than anything you can create yourself or find elsewhere.
Bottom line; if it saves you money then why wouldn't you want it? If wasting money isn't a problem for you then fair enough.
Not everyone will want it or see the benefit in having it but I imagine a lot would. The current hurdle is selling the idea to people and achieving initial take-up. It fits in with government desires and would probably also have environmentalist backing and, above all, saving money is a good motivation.
"Rather than having your heating system, "
Runs on natural gas, during late autumn, winter and early spring only
"fridge, washing machine, "
runs all the time, or just once a week
"dishwasher, backup server, battery and electric car chargers, etc,"
don't have 'm, apart from the backup server.
So, how much is it going to save me then? And why won't the backup server be capable enough to do the math?
"forcing anyone using a product based on Nest technology to adopt Google as a service provider (again as Android users must)." - sorry, what now...? Which Google service can I as an Android user not avoid to use, exactly? I sync calendar and tasks with my own server, not Google. I use Gmail because I find it convenient; then again I also use Ymail on the same phone, I could stop using Gmail if I wished. Most stuff I search for I do from a (mobile) browser, and those can be configured to use any engine. Google Now is useless to me (literally not a single feature I could find a use for in my daily life) and so is Google Maps (I use a different, free app with turn-by-turn that incidentally has half of Europe downloaded for offline use - were you trying to say something, Gmaps...?) How much information exactly does Google get off the device nobody can say, but I sure do keep all the boxes unchecked. So which service did you say I must be using...?
Oh, and regarding the IoT thingie - I strongly suspect Google just apes Samsung on this, who just announced they'd really like to network you fridge and washing machine. Or the other way around. Who cares - they are both wrong. I mean, 2014 will clearly be the year of the Internet of Things, right...? Just like every year for half a century now has been the year of the Smart Home, surely?
" I sync calendar and tasks with my own server, not Google."
Can you tell me how you do that please. A couple of links would be nice. I've been wondering about syncing to a private ftp server using .ics files to hold different calendars. If i could get my Android calendar away from Google that would be nice.
"Can you tell me how you do that please."
Install owncloud (http://www.owncloud.org/) on a server.
Install a CalDAV and CardDAV client on your phone (I use two separate apps, but people have reported good results with DAVdroid).
I have calendar and contacts synced between my phone, tablet, laptop and desktop.
I don't want Google to be pinged every time I enter my front door, cook an egg or flush the toilet. I don't want my family to be logged as they enter and leave, gather in the dining room or go to bed. My thermostat, refrigerator and smoke alarm function perfectly as dumb devices. My mundane private life is mine and private.
"Since the Nest thermostat only works in USA and Canada residents of the Rest of the World can sleep easy."
"Use of the thermostat outside the United States and Canada is complicated by the software setting time and other functions based on the ZIP code."
When and if they eventually fix that, you will have to enter dates and times in US format,
And probably decide the interface language by your IP address.
What could possibly go wrong?
Yeah but every home appliance or device from every manufacturer will have a chip in the near future.
Almost everything at CES was either iRubbish or Internet of things.
It started with Smart phones and TVs. Smart kettles and nosehair trimmers are just down the road.
You won't be able to buy anything without one soon.
(Where's my tinfoil hat?)
internet of things... sounds great, except the cloud factor...
I would be perfectly happy with my home being fully automated, but I want the server in my home, behind my router & firewalls, with only ME being able to access it...
As soon as you grant anyone else access, you are giving up your security....
What if a hacker breaks into their servers and shuts down your heating, turns off all the lights for everyone, or even in the middle of the night rapidly cycling the lights until they blow!
I don't trust public cloud for my private data, now a private cloud at home, that is what I want!
You do realize kids, that no one is forcing anyone to buy this Nest thing...don't you? Or any of the other crap that connects my home & its belongings to the Internet. There isn't a snowball's chance in Hell I would ever buy one of these...or any other device that connects the appliances in my home to the Internet. What for?
It's bad enough that there are PFYs around the globe (and yes...the NSA also) trying to gain access to my computers...the longer they all stay the f*ck out of the rest of my life...the better.
you are very naive, if you really think that "no one's forcing you". No one was forcing mandatory seat belts (never mind their benefit for now), until they became mandatory. Likewise, no one's forcing it - at least legally YET, to install a black box in your car. But the incentives are already there (a discount). At some point the discount will outweigh the non-discounted option by 10: 1 or more. At some other point (and not in the "far away future, nosir), it will be coupled with a regulatory, i.e. legal requirement. Or, to pre-empt the usual way: they will be pre-installed, and you won't be able to remove it, which will be coupled with hefty penalties (soon to be upgraded to "criminal offense"), if you dare remove it. Likewise, this shitty thermostat and other devices. At some point in the not-too-distant future, they'll be pedaled as the best thing since the electronic meter reader (which they will push upon us too). After some pedaling, it will be proven (and if no proof exists), it will be claimed, that those thermostats are "essential" to keep the energy prices down (lol, I love this argument every time the prices are hiked up even more). And since it's essential, it will also become a legal requirement to have one. You don't want one? Sure, you won't have one forced upon you. Until the next moment, when you're found out that you have a wife. And kids. And then - bingo! - you either instal it, so that kids are not subject to unhuman changes to room temperature, or they suggest, that they might de-instal your kids (yeah, I know, it would be useful at times).
None of it is really fanciful, and I'm not suggesting that Google have masterminded such a plan for a world domination. They just realize that if they put their fingers in many pies, they might reap benefits, sooner or later. Be it by peddling information about your habits to advertisers, or to the government. Purely for statistical purposes, of course, nothing personal. Unless legally bound, of course.
No, but 'homes' shouldn't be plural.
Nest hasn't built anything that Google couldn't easily replicate themselves. The only feasible reason they weren't willing to wait the year (at most) it would take them to build an identical platform themselves (using a mere 1% of that money, or $32 million, would be major overkill for this effort) is because they felt they couldn't afford to wait that year.
That implies they believe someone else (maybe Apple, maybe companies like Honeywell getting together an industry effort) will be making a big splash in 2014 and Google had to pay through the nose to catch up. People have suggested patents, but with few products Nest can have few patents, unless they were working on something totally outside of the market they'd previously been operating in.
Even these seem like flimsy reasoning, because people aren't going to replace their thermostats, smoke alarms, door locks, and whatnot in any large numbers no matter how cool of products someone comes out with.
If I was a Google shareholder, I'd be pretty unhappy now. This is why shareholders want to see companies paying dividends rather than holding onto large amounts of cash. Having the cash available makes it easier to make stupid decisions like this.
Whilst you might be right about people not replacing stuff around their homes en-masse but how long will it be before some corporation bribes enough lawmakers to put through changes in building regs/codes so that the ONLY devices you are allowed to replace the old stuff with is this 'connected shite'?
Don't have to. My second real job was working for a company that had just that dream many, many years ago. They went bankrupt and for good reason. The idea sounds good until you start working through the details. Granted Google won't go bankrupt, but it isn't the utopia you think it is. Truth is, the system I worked on I'd trust more than Nest because I could have built it without the smart phone/internet access. I can easily see 4chan hacking access to the home owner systems and turning off the heat so the pipes freeze just for the LOLs. And that's before believing Google won't change the service to mine the data, or worse, get at it another way.
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