The squealing of the Internet over Google’s purchase of Nest baffles me. Sure it’s not exactly their mandate of organizing the world’s information, but I fail to see the pants-wetting terror of an advertising company having access to my most personal integer: the temperature of my living room. It looks like another attempt by Google to get its hands an excellent hardware manufacturer ala Motorola. Even in an apartment I desperately want a Nest thermostat and some of those Protect smoke detectors.
What’s Google going to do? Most likely yes, they’ll integrate it with their other systems. Your Android phone would know if you’re coming home early and signal the thermostat to warm up earlier. With the knowledge of your vacation through Gmail the thermostat could turn itself off until you came back. I’m sure Google has better weather prediction than anyone else and can tune the system to be more responsive. For data privacy hounds this is a nightmare, but the rest of us will be one step closer to the house of the future. Integration with the “feared” Google+ should be the least of anyone’s worries.
Speaking of things I don’t understand, how about the sturm und drang over Google+? Yes it’s a vaguely-failed social network, but it’s also the label for your Google account. Is this an if-by-whiskey argument? Nobody complains about an Apple ID signing you in to iTunes and Game Center and the App Store, do they? A Microsoft account gets you into Xbox and Outlook.com and Skype and there are no howls of protest. Complaining that you have to get a Google+ account sounds like tin foil hat types gibbering about getting a social security number. Neither Google nor the United States Government is forcing you to literally tattoo that on your forehead. Relax!
In fact, we’re pretty far from a doomsday scenario in tech.
You know how Amazon’s supposedly practicing predatory pricing to put other companies out of business so they can raise their prices? Borders is gone and Kindles haven’t gotten more expensive. Circuit City is gone and AmazonBasics HDMI cables haven’t gotten more expensive. I’m not arguing for the government to turn a blind eye to Amazon’s behavior but part of being a predator is eating your competition. Amazon seems content to starve them out of business and stay hungry forever.
My other favorite doomsday scenario (which I don’t have a hard time believing despite owning a ton of their electronics) is the Apple Apocalypse. This is the one where Apple extends the App Store’s restrictions on running software to OS X. In one way it’s already here: all new Macs ship with a toggle switch set to “only run apps signed by Apple and certified developers” but it’s trivial to turn off and run your favorite BitTorrent client. Next would be making a whitelist of all Internet sites Apple deems acceptable and marking the other ones as phishing scams to iOS Safari users. Finally they’d lock you out of your own content library and refuse to play any music or videos or let you read any books that aren’t sold by Apple.
Are you getting the chills or laughing your ass off?
Hard to tell from here.