On Facebook, a friend asked about my take on the Nest acquisition by Google that was recently announced.
(I’ve given Nest thermostats and Smoke Alarms as gifts, and have a Smoke Alarm myself. I’d have a thermostat if we weren’t apartment dwellers at this time.)
Here’s the answer I gave:
Unhappy. While I’m aware of all the positives (e.g. deep pockets to allow expansion of the Nest product line and protection against some of the patent issues they are threatened with), I really don’t trust Google anymore.
Nest has given assurances that the customer data won’t be shared, but that policy is subject to change down the road. Google made similar assurances regarding YouTube and those have weakened over time.
I’m trying not to be too paranoid, and I’m not suggesting that anyone throw away their Nest devices just yet, but I’m definitely concerned.
Really wish it had been Apple. Sure, they want all my money but they get it in an upfront fashion, not by advertising or selling my data.
Oh, I should add that on the bright side, this may kick off the overarching privacy discussions that need to take place as we head further down the “Internet of Things” road.
In an ideal world, the result of the acquisition will be Google realizing that they need to make some serious promises/safeguards regarding privacy for Nest if they expect it to remain a viable product line.
In the non-ideal world they just go ahead and be evil, counting on the sales to people who don’t know or don’t care about the privacy concerns. Sigh.