Google Is Buying a Thermostat Company

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On Monday afternoon, Google announced plans to acquire Nest, a hardware developer known for their internet-enabled home appliances, including a thermostat and a smoke detector. With their intention to purchase the company, the panoptic giant wants to make your unappreciated technology useful again. ("And no, we're not talking about Google+," said a bunch of great jokesters all at once.)

The $3.2 billion purchase continues Google's move towards more vertical integration, controlling both hardware and software production. Google has been an investor in Nest through their Series B and C rounds of funding, and the company previously spent more than $12 billion on Motorola Mobility a couple of years ago. More recently, they also acquired Boston Dynamics, a complex robotics company.

Google gets another entry point into people's lives besides cloud services, television, smartphones, laptops, payment platforms, etc. Now, they can also tell when your house is chilly. Nest, as outlined in a blog post, gets, "the business resources, global scale and platform reach to accelerate Nest growth across hardware, software and services for the home globally."

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Still, some users have privacy concerns, since the devices are Wifi-enabled so they can be controlled remotely. 9to5Google compiled a list of customers threatening to rip their Nest thermostats out of the wall upon hearing the news. The company also put up an anticipatory explainer for those concerned about the acquisition, stating "Our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services." And of course, Google's privacy policies never change.

Company founder Tony Fadell told the Financial Times on Monday that Google, "very much convinced us that they really hold privacy as a tenet of what they do everyday. Our data is not going to get co-mingled with their data unless there is incredible value and the customer sees that value and they opt in."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.