Say goodbye to privacy: How Nest might transform Google

“It’s no wonder some people are freaking out over Google’s $3.2 billion Nest Labs acquisition: it’s another step towards a future when Google has enough access to lives of high-income consumers to gain psychological insights that no company has ever possessed,” Tero Kuittinen writes for BGR.

“Nest’s Learning Thermostat can track movements and activity of people in their homes, an ability no doubt improving by leaps and bounds,” Kuittinen writes. “If you combine this with analysis of email and search patterns, as well as smartphone GPS mapping of movement outside the home, you get to an exceptionally sweet spot for building an intimate profile of not only current consumption patterns, but of likely future choices as well.”

“Of course, granting Nest access to your life will be entirely voluntary and Google will inform you of the privacy issues in exhaustive detail. Most people won’t mind — just as most people don’t mind combining Gmail, YouTube and search information into an intricate psychological profiles,” Kuittinen writes. “This does not have to be sinister. Isn’t it more pleasant to receive ad messages that actually suit your interests? What if Google can actually improve your life by accurately reading your mental state and helping you buy services and products that are a good fit?”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Feuds, funding and a fed up Fadell: Why Apple didn’t buy Nest – January 14, 2014
Did Tim Cook blow it by not snapping up Nest before Google? – January 13, 2014
Google to buy Nest Labs for $3.2 Billion – January 13, 2014
Tony Fadell introduces Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector – October 8, 2013
Tony Fadell, Father of the iPod: From Apple to Nest Labs, always a designer – July 24, 2013
Apple Store to sell Tony Fadell’s Nest Learning Thermostat, report claims – May 25, 2012
‘Father of the iPod’ Tony Fadell shows off his new project: Thermostats – October 25, 2011

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38 Comments

  1. What are you doing Thelonious? Take a stress pill. Why are you prying the thermostat off the wall. Please, can we talk about this? Would you like to see some images from largebreastedasianwomen.com?

    Open my door Google.
    I’m afraid we can’t do that. I’ve set your SleepNumber bed to your favorite number, and loaded a new book on computer security onto your iPad. It cost you $9.00.

    Let me out Google.

    If you continue to struggle, we’ll be forced to summon the authorities. You wouldn’t want that, would you Thelonious?

    1. Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do.
      I’m half crazy all for the love of you.
      It won’t be a stylish marriage,
      I can’t afford a carriage.
      But you’ll look sweet,
      Upon the seat,
      Of a bicycle made for two.

      1. Harry, Harry, here is your answer true.
        You’re half crazy if you think I’ll marry you.
        If you can’t afford a carriage,
        You can’t afford a marriage.
        And I’ll be damned
        If I’ll be crammed
        On a bicycle built for two.

    2. Thelonious,
      Awesome post! Reminiscent of the late, great Ampar.

      For the uninitiated, Ampar was one of the original posters here at MDN who had an incredible wit and sense of humor but was driven into hiding, and then exile, by soul-sucking trolls. Kinda like what has happened with ChrissyOne – but not to the same extent.

      Ahhhh….the good ol’ days….

  2. Advertisement tracking techniques will reach new level of creepiness.

    And since NSA has access to a “mailbox” of all of Google’s data in non-encrypted form, you will be tracked even more than before.

  3. I’m not really bothered. It doesn’t affect me mentally knowing that I might be snooped upon and my activities tracked. I use Gmail, watch YouTube and use Google as my default search engine. I’m used to Google’s intrusiveness – it’s almost like a second skin to me. Anything I receive in my Gmail account I don’t like, I send it to the spam folder where it will never disturb my peace of mind again.

    Look at the upside though. There are tons of educational videos on YouTube that people have taken the trouble to upload. I think of it as an adjunct of iTunesU as far as learning material is concerned. And so what if marketers try to sell me stuff. I just blank out what I’m not interested in, just like how my mind goes blank whenever a commercial comes on TV. At least with YouTube you have the option of skipping commercials after 5 seconds unlike ads on TV which you can’t fast forward over.

    Personally I don’t hate Google because of Android. I just don’t use Android but to smear the whole company just because of Android I think is silly.

    1. I’m not afraid of all these things… yet. I am worried though. It’s as if we’re just skipping down the road, singing la la la, and not paying attention to the infrastructure of a tyrannical surveillance state going up around us. Cameras, electronic communications monitoring, the connected car, the connected house, personal robotics, the Internet of things…

      Meanwhile we’re working to make them all smarter and smarter, pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence.

      Working on a small system right now for a law firm that tracks incoming calls. (They have to keep track of all of that stuff by law. Never knew.) It will ultimately be cloud based, but it’s not hard to imagine someday someone applying for a job and being turned down because an inquiry into suing them for sexual harassment was made.

      There is no way our existing legislators have the ability to comprehend all of this or imagine the possible consequences.

      1. Thelonius, the moment you open a Facebook account you implicitly surrender all pretences to privacy. I see it as stages of opening your life in exchange for more convenience.

        It might be a Faustian bargain but you know what, even Apple asks me to provide information on usage patterns so they can improve the product. Siri’s ‘intelligence’ must be the result of a collaborative effort. Even dictation is an effort of melding the pronunciation of different regional dialects and idioms.

        We just don’t live in an island any more. The world is a super connected place.

          1. Not completely:
            – first there is what other ppl post about you, tag you I’m etc that often gives location data and more.
            – second there is a profiling of the types of ppl you friend, reply to, message etc
            – third there is the ever changing ‘security’ and ‘privacy’ settings that often leave users revealing more to those they didn’t intend.

            But you’re right about Google – it will remove the little control you have.

        1. I agree, crowd sourcing has been a boon in building collective intelligence, which benefits all. The problem is that all the raw data are in the hands of the gatherers, and they decide how to exploit it. In exchange for smart individual recommendations, they compile a massive database to drive intelligent agents to hound us for the rest of our lives.

          In response to this inevitable trend, I predict the emergence of a countervailing cottage industry, funded by shadow VCs, to counteract this Orwellian trend by creating a new, sophisticated market in the identity space. It may already have quietly begun.

  4. Bought a Honeywell thermostat from Amazon. It cost $30. It lets me program it for when I am home and away. It lets me program a week, and program separately for the weekend. It has an override.

    AFAIK, those are the only conditions I need to satisfy for this device to work for me. It saves me money. It’s a dumb thermostat, but I am a smart person.

  5. With the Nest Thermostat and Protect, local authorities to the NSA will know if you’re home and which rooms are occupied with no search warrant given today’s climate. It is a well known fact Google is cozy with local and federal agencies.

  6. I was thinking of buying a Nest thermostat, but now that Google/Android owns it, there’s no guarantee that they won’t yank the iPhone app in the future.

  7. I think women will love having a Nest thermostat inserted inside their reproductive areas, and getting an exciting text on the phone:

    “You Nest Vagitherm indicates that your fertility is at it’s optimum for the next 24 hours and that the guy to your left in the blue shirt and pink tie is the biggest prick in the room.”

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