Google to SEC: We could serve ads on thermostats, refrigerators, car dashboards, and more

“Advertising may be coming to your thermostat and lots of other strange places, courtesy of Google,” Rolfe Winkler reports for The Wall Street Journal. “In a December letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was disclosed Tuesday, the search giant said that it could be serving ads and other content on ‘refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.'”

“Google made the statement to help justify why it shouldn’t disclose revenue generated from mobile devices, a figure the SEC had requested and that companies like Facebook and Twitter both disclose,” Winkler reports. “Google argued that it doesn’t make sense to break out mobile revenue since the definition of mobile will ‘continue to evolve’ as more ‘smart’ devices roll out.”

“‘Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future,’ the company said in the filing,” Winkler reports. “Google announced a $3.2 billion deal in January to buy Nest Labs, a startup known for smart thermostats and smoke detectors – a few weeks after it told the SEC to expect ads and other content on such devices.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sarah” and “Antonio” for the heads up.]


  1. Google doesn’t want to provide the information because it will tell its competitors how poorly they are doing in mobile.
    I do not use Google products anymore so if they add to other devices I will not use those either.

  2. Google is simply an ad agency masquerading as a high tech company. Their primary and possibly only profit stream is selling ads. Everything they do it oriented toward selling ads.

    Give the Android operating system away for free, so users will be directed to Google ads. Develop a great search engine, so ad space can be sold to the highest bidder in the search results.

    I’m sure any fool who buys Google Glass will be confronted by constant ads in front of their eye balls. Walk down a street and pass by The Gap and Google Glass will flash the latest Gap sales ad in front of your face.

    Therefore, is it any surprise that Google plans to put ads on the Nest thermostat or any other home automation item they produce. Of course not. That is their business.

    Therefore, if you don’t like ads, don’t use Google products. Need a good search engine that doesn’t track you, use Duck Duck Go. Want a good email service that doesn’t track you and read your email, then drop your gmail account and search around and find one. Or better yet, pay a couple bucks a year for a service that does your email and leaves you alone.

    We all have choices and free is not always a good price.

      1. I have a GMail account but never use the web interface. I use the Apple Mail clients on my desktop and mobile devices and see no ads, so Google gets no revenue from my email account.

        1. They still use it to mine and profile you for targeted ads elsewhere. I have a gmail account I use as a secondary/spam account but they don’t know where I go on the web thanks to LittleSnitch and I dont see ads thanks to glimmerblocker.
          I have no problem with ads but I do have a problem with the invasion of privacy google think is ok

  3. Oh, dear God.

    I don’t mean to sound like an elitist here (in all things tech I don’t mind admitting I probably am) but I’m beginning to envision a world when people lacking either money or taste — or both — will be housing extremely cheap electronics in their homes that blast them with advertisements while they study all of their habits.

    (Google will know that “Bob” likes to drink a Barq’s root beer while reading and typically eats string cheese after his visit to — all at 72 degrees F.)

    While the rest of us will have paid enough up front for our hardware services so as not to be bothered.

    I miss the wilder Internet. This newer fully commercialized one makes me nauseous. And since I just typed that word, I’ll probably be served up an ad for pepto bismal any second now . . . . Progress?

    1. Commercialization will permeate every facet of society until Earth can no longer support its waste; resources purchased with “profit” (beyond the investment in capital that can more successfully harness resources) and resources spent on “advertising” (where the ads sell an emotional state or lifestyle as opposed to advertise the technical merits of a product for non-biased informational purposes) are a waste of resources that could be utilized to support life. The more capitalistically perverted a society becomes, the more resources must be wasted sustaining the machine which pursues profit.

      I agree with your post 100% midwestmac; your frustration (and the frustration of many others) is an indication that the system is ill-suited to a sustainable future. The global system of today is just another empire that will collapse under its own vices (profit, exploitation, etc).

      1. I don’t disagree that we’re probably headed for a planet of depleted resources at some point . . . that does seem to be our trajectory.

        But I don’t know that my fears in this instance are so much anti-capitalism as pro-privacy.

        Human nature funnels us toward creating technology that makes our lives easier. No doubt computer technology does this, and I’m happy to pay companies for creating that tech. Where I see the problem is that humans also value privacy, and the Google business model asks us to compromise our privacy for comfort — and that to me is the problem. I don’t think people will realize what they’ve given up because it’s happening just slowly enough as to desensitize us.

        For the Facebook crowd that chooses to air all of its good, bad and ugly — well, I don’t feel sorry for them.

  4. Seeing as…

    ‘The Internet of Things’, including all the gadgets mentioned here, have been implicated in a VAST botnet, Google is quite right, if they were nefarious enough they could indeed advertise on this stuff. The current generation of The Internet of Things typically offers NO SECURITY from hacking. NONE. Yes, that’s irresponsible. Complain to the manufacturer.

    Seeing as…

    The USA offers the ‘Do Not Call List’ to all citizens, it’s highly likely that such a list would be created for all Internet of Things devices, possibly using their individual MAC addresses.

    Seeing as…

    Visual advertisements would be distractions while driving, that ain’t NEVER happening. They’re already illegal via current law.

    Seeing as…

    The Internet of Things still has to go through a home router, FIREWALLS would be (can be now!) set up to stop such home marketing intrusions. This alone is enough to kill off Google’s diabolical plans. Not Gonna Happen. Get lost Google!

  5. So basically everyone is up in arms about the possibility of Google doing so based on the article author’s claim “Advertising may be coming to your thermostat and lots of other strange places, courtesy of Google,”.. Reading the article Google made the statement ” It doesn’t make sense to break out mobile revenue since the definition of mobile will ‘continue to evolve’ as more ‘smart’ devices roll out.” in reponse to a request by the SEC. Since ads don’t automagically appear in Apps, (developers have to implement them), complain to the App developers if and when they do appear in your ‘other’ electronics using Android as the underlying OS. btw it already is in a lot of ‘other’ products.. Anyone want to chime in with seeing ads on any of those?

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