Karim Kanji

Karim Kanji

Digital Content Manager

An Early Look At What Google’s Acquisition of Nest Means

Google Moves to New Internet Connected Devices with Acquisition of Nest

Last week, Google and Nest Labs both announced that the search giant had agreed to pay $3.2 billion in cash to purchase the hardware developer and manufacturer.

For those unfamiliar with Nest, the company makes internet-connected devices (not phones or game consoles) such as thermostats and smoke detectors. Nest was founded by Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers in 2010. Both Fadell and Rogers have been credited with being key members of teams at Apple that built both the iPod and iPhone.

According to the official Google press release, here is what the CEO’s had to say:

Larry Page, CEO of Google: “Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family. They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!”

Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest:  “We’re thrilled to join Google. With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world.”

Many articles have been written asking the obvious questions around security and privacy. However, as a digital content marketing professional (and even if I wasn’t) this deal (assuming completion) is hugely important in other ways.

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Behavioural Data

Up until most recently, only companies such as Google (online search habits) and Klout (aggregation of personal social media activity) have been measuring our activity on the internet. Companies such as Air Miles and the major credit cards have been monitoring our purchasing behaviours. Now, with Google purchasing Nest, we are seeing how companies are going to be monitoring and quantifying our “offline” behaviours.

Forget about our energy use. This transaction is more about learning everything about what we do from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. Look even further and one can suggest that Google can know virtually everything about you.

Personalized Search Results

One of the “benefits” of this movement is that your search results (assuming you own Nest or other “smart” devices: think wearable technology) will become even more personalized. Google will know that you’re not just interested in a vacation on the beach in sunny Dominican Republic. They will know what you will prefer for breakfast while at the resort.

Internet of Things is Finally Becoming a Reality

In 2009, Kevin Ashton coined the phrase Internet of Things. The concept was that with the proliferation of tagging technology such as NFC (near field communications), QR codes, and RFID (radio-frequency identification) would lead to products and people being monitored and managed.

Remember the Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report? In the movie, Cruise walks by personalized holographic displays that even call out Cruise’s character by name. It is this type of technology and application that makes the Internet of Things a reality.

Smart(er) Products

One of the main problems that occurs in my house is when I make toast. It’s a challenge to get the perfect level of crispiness. Now imagine a smart toaster that knew how I liked my toast and understood when it was I who was using the toaster. The result: The perfect toast.

One of the things that has made Nest so popular is its ability to learn, over time, from a user’s behavior. So now, not only does the Nest Thermostat help keep your home at the optimum temperature, it will only do so while you’re at home. Nest knows, just like we do, that we don’t need our home heated (or cooled in the summer) while we are not there. We need it comfortable while we are actually there.

Combine Nest’s proclivity to produce smart and beautiful products with Google’s goal of organizing the world’s information and we may get products that understand, adapt and react to human behaviour.

Karim Kanji
Karim Kanji

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