First I’ll talk about the bad news. Many fear that with Google taking steps into the smarthome there will be many new privacy concerns. Will Google harvest data from Nest products and use it to target ads at me? Is big brother watching whether or not I’m using my AC cost effectively? Does it matter if they are looking at this information? These are actually all valid questions; many people have ripped Nest products out of their homes entirely as a response. It seems that Google plans to let Nest run mostly independently as they did with Motorola, but time will really tell.
Here are my thoughts. With the financial backing of Google, Nest products will undoubtably make it into the homes of thousands, and potentially millions of more people. And while I trust Google, this mass amount of users could cause Nest to become a big target for hackers. Imagine, you take a vacation to Hawaii for two weeks, you’re concerned with the security of your house so you post nothing on social media about your upcoming trip (this way robbers/bad guys won’t know to come rob your house). You’re on the way to the airport and you forget you didn’t put the Nest Thermostat into vacation mode, so you do it from the cab. You fly to Hawaii, and everything is great… except that your Nest account was hacked and those hackers sold the data on the black market to robbers, and they see that your Nest is set to vacation mode and… you know how the rest of the story goes. With that said, the same concern can be had with most other smarthome products (particularly security camera ones like the Dropcam). Google owning Nest will just make it a bigger target.
I should say even with these concerns, I am still happy about the announcement and will continue to use Nest products in my own home.
So that’s the bad news, but there is good news! Google owning Nest opens the company up to a lot more incredible possibilities. The financial backing and incredible engineering talent of Google will allow Nest to develop better products at a faster rate. I have high hopes for the future of Nest and I’m excited to see where Google takes the company.