Google buys Nest for $3.2 billion

Ah fuck!

  • We are getting to the point where every promising hardware and software startup is acquired by Google, Apple or Facebook. Sad future. Still mourning for Sparrow.

    • Sigivald

      Why is this a problem?

      The products are still being made, the innovation is still happening – and the innovators are becoming fabulously wealthy.

      The last one both encourages more innovators and lets the newly-enriched ones start their next gig with their own funding.

      I mean, if Google had a history of taking products and, oh, making them so you could only use them via Chromebooks, I might see that as a problem.

      But they don’t.

      Why should anyone care, apart from Google/Apple/Facebook investors?

  • Fuckface

    Fuck? Why? Shut the fuck up moaning about google please everyone.

    • BC2009

      No. We don’t have to shut up because you say so. Lots of people can see why this acquisition sucks for consumers.

      • Sigivald

        I can’t.

        Why does it?

        Is the Nest going away?

        Are Honeywell and any new, upstart “integrated thermostat” manufacturers going to be unable to compete with Google, like nobody can compete with any Google’s other hardware ventures*?

        (* Other than all of them, none of which remotely “owns” a market. See what I mean?

        I mean, I don’t particularly like Google.

        And I don’t own a Nest, either, so I have zero dogs in this fight – other than really having no idea why I should think this sucks for me as a consumer and potential future customer of a Nest thermostat.)

        • Makako

          There are plenty of people out there that have their own valid reasons to not trust Google’s data collection.

          These individuals may have a Nest (or a few) in their homes.

          These devices can collect a lot of data about you and track what rooms of your home you are currently on. For anybody that is even a bit paranoid about Google, this is horrendous news. If I was such a person and had Nests at my home, I’d be running to Home Depot right now to get a dumb thermostat to replace the thing tonight.

          We all here know (if you are a regular) that Jim is one of those individuals that have extreme distrust about that company, so yea, he has enough reason to be very upset.

          • ques

            Honest question: do you trust your data with a small startup more than you trust it with Google? Why or why not?

          • Makako

            Depends on the startup, but I personally don’t. I never bought a Nest as tempted as I was because it was still on the Venture Funding loop, and that always means “looking for an exit”, or in other words “to be acquired by a bigger fish.”

            Some, though, trusted the company due to it’s connection with Apple (was created by a former high rank Apple employee that also created the iPod.)

          • BC2009

            That’s an easy question to answer. Google has an ecosystem that they tie you into. Once you use their services and others it becomes difficult to extricate them from your life. Because of this Google can abuse privacy more than others because they know that users may not have good alternatives to their services. Facebook has done the same thing. If all your friends are on Facebook and you have all your relationships and information stored on Facebook, then it is not so easy to move to an alternative social site because you’d have to convince your “friends” to come with you. Facebook knows this and has eroded their privacy policy over the years because of this (a little bit at a time — just enough to get you to swallow the change and accept it).

            Google’s current privacy tactics using “opt out” instead of “opt in” are troubling to many. It is also troubling just how much Google Now knows about you. If this was the Google of 10 years ago, I would be cheering this acquisition. But I trust most companies (large or small) more than the Google of today. The only company worse than Google on privacy is Facebook. Apple and Microsoft are the big companies that are shining stars on privacy because they don’t make their money on your personal data.

            Aside: Google Now is an example of how much an entity can infer about you if you let them have too much of your data (e.g.: email, location data, calendar, social relationships, purchases, and now sensors in your home). Google Now can guess things about you that are downright creepy. If the government provided a service like Google Now, there would be a huge outcry about privacy, but people accept it from Google. However, even if Google does not act in an “evil” manner like Orwell’s “Big Brother” in 1984, they become the one-stop shop for anybody who wants to hack into them and act that way (e.g.: the NSA). Having your data spread across multiple service providers affords you an extra layer of privacy.

          • matthewmaurice

            I don’t see that Google abuses anyone’s privacy. You willingly surrender it when you use a Google service. Also when you say “users may not have good alternatives to their services” it’s important to note that you mean FREE alternatives. No service Google provides can’t be acquired for a fee.

            Say it with me, people: “Google is NOT a software company, they are an ADVERTISING SALES company. You don’t USE Google’s products, YOU ARE Google’s products.”

          • whats that, google doesnt violate privacy? guess you didnt hear about the private cookie lawsuit they were guilty in:



          • matthewmaurice

            Speaking of “oops”, you really should learn what the word “guilty” means. They settled, that’s a big difference from being found guilty. If a Attorney General has a good case against someone, especially one as high profile as Google, they’re not going to settle, at least not for US$17 million (also, looking at the remedies, Google wasn’t even slapped on the wrist–3 of 4 require nothing more than more/better “weasel words” in a EULA). Does Google use distasteful practices? Of course they do. That doesn’t mean it’s illegal, and it REALLY doesn’t mean you can convince a jury of that.

          • wrong. prosecutors settle every single day, because it’s a quicker and less-expensive win going to court.

            that today’s corporations demand that they not admit guilt when settling is a sad commentary on the power they have in today’s society, not something that actually proves that they are in fact not guilty. google was guilty. i know it. you know it. the court knew it, and google knew it. thus….settlement.

          • matthewmaurice

            “wrong.” Oh, the irony.

            Litigators may “settle”, but prosecutors plea bargain. They’re all about their conviction rate, so any deal is going to involve someone pleading guilty to something, even if it’s a misdemeanor with a light sentence recommendation. Unless, of course, they have no case. Which should be obvious from the fact that the best the AGs from 37 states and DC could get from Google was US$ 17 mill (which should be noted is A: less than $US 500K per jurisdiction and B: just over one-half of ONE PERCENT of net operating income for the QUARTER immediately before the settlement) and a promise to “Give users more and better information about how cookies work.”

            As for the rest of that crap about guilt, American jurisprudence isn’t about what you know, it’s about what you can prove, and usually that’s a very good thing.

          • nest as a startup waisnt an ad company. nest didnt make its money by harvesting and monetizing data. nest was a hardware company — it made its money by selling goods directly to consumers. this is a relationship i trust.

      • VJ

        As a Nest owner, I agree wholeheartedly.

        I can’t imagine how people can even NOT be concerned at the least. Maybe one must own Nest to understand.

        Nest was the first to add motion sensor, humidity sensor, know the weather based on zip, run on fan-only mode to maximize efficiency, filter change notification based on how fast it can heat/cool to target temp, etc. ALL of this with an interface of turn-left or turn-right simplicity. This just is not in Google’s DNA (to make it simple, beautiful and elegant). Just log into gmail.

        To me, Google is a fantastic engineering company whereas companies like Apple, Nest and Sonos are consumer company.

        • Tvaddic

          Google didn’t fire anyone, the Nest people can still innovate they will just have more money to do so. And you conveniently didn’t talk about any of the Nest’s software features. Google is better than Apple and Sono in that field.

          • VJ

            True, if Google is playing more of an investor role (let them run Nest separately), then I do think it’s a good thing. Now, Fadell’s vision will come much sooner with that kind of capital.

            And you conveniently didn’t talk about any of the Nest’s software features.

            I have no idea what you mean here. Isn’t efficient use of”fan-only” mode, filter change notification “software” features? Can you elaborate on what I left out conveniently?

            As I said, I think Google is an R&D (engineering) company. There are some incredibly brilliant people there. In another words, they are the type of company that invents a motion sensor. Nest / Apple packages these things in an incredibly consumer-friendly way. (although they too invent but in their DNA)

            Although companies like Nest / Apple have software “features”, they tend NOT to focus on features or technology. What drives them are things like user experience, extreme simplicity, hide complexity, and while they are at, make it look beautiful.

          • Tvaddic

            I was refering to their app

          • Makako

            They are especially good at collecting data, something the Nest is set up to do for them perfectly fine. That privacy agreement? It’s going to change. Soon.

          • Tvaddic

            Apple collects data too, do you think they just throw everything you do on the iPhone away. No they try to use it to sell iAds, it just doesn’t work as well, is as popular, or profitable as Google.

          • Makako

            Most data Apple collects is not identifiable, because Apple or linked to your account in any way. I seen enough of iAds to tell you: anything they collect is not used to target those ads. I have never seen an ad that targets me or my activity. The ads are less targeted than the ads in a TV show. The reason it does not work as well very likely is Apple’s refusal to collect or link true identifying data collection.

          • Tvaddic

            The iAd website says, “With iAd, you can reach people in their favorite iOS apps, with beautiful creative and exceptional TARGETING that sets you up to deliver the right message to the right person, at just the right time.

            Not only that, “Find your audience using targeting tools built upon a foundation of registration and media consumption data that’s exclusive to iAd.”

            They are doing the same thing they just don’t have as many buyers so it doesn’t work the same.


          • That’s called “marketing speak” and can be safely ignored.

          • Is that your way of saying iAd doesn’t harvest your data to sell more ads? They just show random ads?

      • Tvaddic

        Considering Google has been blowing money on Motorola for years and nothing has changed. I don’t know how you can assume this is bad for consumers, they most likely won’t even touch it.

        • Makako

          Nothing changed? Moto X and Moto G are direct results of that Google influence. The patent lawsuits the company doubled down on and lost, that was Google’s influence.

          • Tvaddic

            Those patent lawsuits were already in play when Google bought the company. The Moto G is just a cheap contract free phone, and the Moto X is almost clear bones Android which almost everyone wanted.

          • moto had a new one post-purchase. we were talking about here in a prior debate a couple months, linking to a gigaom story about it.

  • BC2009

    Just wait…. setting up your Nest products will soon require a Google+ account and you will have to opt out of letting anybody in your circles on Google+ change your temperature.

    Google will also monitor when you are home versus away as the sensors become more sophisticated and detect which people are in the home versus people being in the home.

    It is all downhill from here for Nest. I know it does not fit with Apple’s core business, but I liked Nest and I wish Apple would have bought them simply to prevent this.

    Not sure how Nest products fit with Google since Nest is about premium rather than market share. Most Android users can’t afford Nest products. Maybe Google wants to make a play for Apple’s more profitable customer base.

    • Sigivald

      Why should Apple buy them to “prevent” Google from doing so?

      If Apple wants to enter the Home Automation market, it can do that directly.

      It’s not like Nest invented the connected thermostat – they just had great marketing, some learning software, and good UI/UX.

      Apple can homebrew all three of those without much effort, because they’re in the corporate culture already; why acquire Nest to do it?

    • yummyyummyfly

      This is not a joke. It’s more true than you can imagine.

    • Tvaddic

      Can’t Google theoretically already monitor if you are home considering you have them installed on your phone and it sends location data back?

      I don’t know how more money and exposure is going downhill.

      Do you realize that Apple sells more phone in the US, where they are subsidized. You can’t say Android users can’t afford a Nest considering they own a $200 Galaxy Blah Blah. A $650 iPhone cost the same as a $600 Galaxy on a contract.

      • BC2009

        Nearly 80% of Android phones connecting to the Play Store are in the “Normal” size range (3.5-inches to 4.3 inches) according to Google’s Android Developer Dashboard. This means that most Android phones are not flagship phones like a $200 Galaxy Blah Blah, but a “free on contract” or “$200 or less off contract” piece of junk. That’s why I say that most Android users can’t afford a Nest. The statistics have shown time and again that iOS users do more retail shopping online, buy more apps, subscribe to in-flight WiFi more, etc., etc., etc…. There is no “cheap off-contract” option for Apple and that is why iPhone does not do as well with the smaller US carriers like Boost Mobile.

        • Tvaddic

          A phone’s size doesn’t say anything about how good it is or how much it costs, an iPhone 5c is just 4 inches and people say that phone is expensive. And the data says more, which is tricky because there are more Android devices than iOS devices. If 10% of the 700 million iOS users were interested in a Nest, then 70 million people want the device, if 7% of the rumored 1 billion Android activations were interested in the Nest, then 70 million Android users also want the Nest. Technically more people from the iOS camp would be interested but the sheer number of people is the exact same.

          And you are making my point when you bring up Boost mobile, Apple doesn’t sell a lot of phones to them Android does which skews the data.

        • Incorrect. The density is normal (read; phone) and hdpi up. That means most android phone users are all OK to high quality screens.

          Not 3.5-4.3. 5″ phones are considered in the Large category though.

  • Mother Hydra

    Wut. I can’t believe the poor fortune that has befallen me. JUST. FUCKING. INSTALLED. NEST. I was getting excited and then I go to my feeds and see this all over the place. I need a fucking drink now. I have taken great steps to excise Google and their products from my life. Livid doesn’t begin to describe my mood, fuck you Tony you money grubbing sellout whore.

    • LOL I have no problem with Tony “selling out” for $3+ BILLION dollars. Each and every one of us would do the same thing if given the opportunity.

      • CJ

        Except for that dude from Snapchat.

        • Makako

          I think that guy is regretting it right now, with all the issues they been seeing the last month.

      • Makako

        I’m not 100% certain. I would have taken the money for sure. 100% of that. So long as there is no “and you got to stay with us for 2-3 years” strings attached.

        • These deals don’t get done unless there are those kinds of strings attached. At the very least, Google would have had him sign a non-compete but, most likely, he has to stay on at the company for at least two years.

          • CJ

            Exactly. I doubt Google paid $3bill for the future revenue of two shipping products. They bought the engineering talent, and that talent will no doubt be getting paid well. I doubt anyone at Nest is polishing their resumes right now. They’re probably using Google to shop for new cars.

      • Dropbox didnt.

    • VJ

      I too reacted this way (I just bought 2nd thermostat and Protects) at first. But it sounds like Google will keep Nest separate and Fadell will continue leading it.

      Although I was shocked when I read it, maybe just maybe, he didn’t do it for money (or money alone), Tony did this because he doesn’t want to wait for years to implement his vision. (I hope)

      • Mother Hydra

        I hope you’re right, his words certainly ease the shock and disappointment of this.

  • stsk

    (next year some time) “Hello Jim? This is Larry Page. We noticed that your thermostat was turned down this afternoon and thought we’d just call to make sure everything is OK… Jim?”

    (Jim’s voicemail): “Please leave your fucking message, eh?”

    (sounds in background, LP’s voice) “OK, scramble the Nova Scotia surveillance team, we need to get those bugs planted before he gets back from NAMM…”

    (N.S. Google/NSA team) “10-4. Monique’s out with the dogs. We’re a go for bugging”. (10 minutes later) “Bugs planted – exiting house.”

  • Sigivald

    Interesting. Bodes well for connectivity, I think.

    (The comments over there make me sad – especially for what people are willing to say linked to their Facebook accounts.

    But also just plain missing-the-point: “Imagine if Nest cost the same as Chromecast!” … yeah, because the hardware’s totally similar, right?

    Imagine if a Nest cost the same as a Nexus 10!

    Because that’s also a completely irrelevant Google product!)

  • “We’ve noticed that you’ve been running your furnace a lot recently. Here’s a list of highly rated home insulation installers in your area.”

  • Jörg

    So, another product I won’t buy.

  • dr.naan
    1. Google Ventures (VC) was one of the major investors in Nest from the very beginning.
    2. All the Apple employees will be smashing their Nest this evening and having a barn fire.
    3. Google will reduce the price of Nest so Android users can afford it along with ads from Home Depot will display before giving you the temperature reading.
    4. All the former Apple employees will be retiring or returning.
    5. Apple will stop selling Nest in couple of months.
    • dr.anon

      Gruber is once again trying spin the unspinable.

      Scale means cheap chinese manufacturing. Android means subsidized by Google pricing to gain market share. All the Limousine Libertarians have already bought Nest and most of them were Apple fans.

      bullshit propaganda.

      • Tvaddic

        You realize that there is a huge overlap between people that own Apple products and use Google services?

      • how is gruber spinning anything? exactly?

        “Google now has a division with a remarkable consumer hardware track record. Nest and Fadell now have the financial resources to work faster. Money doesn’t solve scaling problems, but the actual solutions to scaling problems always cost money. Google’s Nest acquisition has very little to do with selling thermostats and smoke detectors in particular. Instead, it’s about Google having the ability to do consumer hardware right”

  • Gerry

    I just purchased my 3rd Nest Protect. God forbid there is a fire now, the fire truck is going to read “Google” on the side instead of the town I live in. LOL I admit I love Apple products but my disappointment has nothing to do with that. I just don’t trust Google and now I will never buy another Nest product again. My reaction was the same as Jim’s. I don’t need Larry Page in my home.

    • Mother Hydra

      I’m conflicted. I want nest to succeed and they deserve the success they worked hard for. I also despise Google’s creep over every aspect of the net- and now they want to plant their flag squarely on the internet of things. That data, combined with Google Now and Glass equals a scary-connected world. Targeted ads are the tip of that iceberg.

  • Frank “Grayhawk” Huminski

    Dammit. I was seriously considering buying the thermostat once the tax refund hit.

    Not anymore.

  • Bretton Morgan

    “Ah fuck!” Couldn’t agree more.

  • Moeskido

    I was looking forward to seeing Nest grow in popularity as an independent entity, which might have driven prices down.

    Customer data issues aside, I’ll be very interested to see if Google can keep its hands off the Nest’s UI and engineering.

    • I would argue this move will drive the price down further and faster than if Nest were independent.

      After all, if “all” Google is after is data, it’s in their best interest to get the Nest into as many houses as possible as fast as possible. They would go with the Xbox model – lose money to basin market share.

      And, as many have commented, perhaps the primary reason Google bought Nest was for the UI, engineering and patents.

      • Moeskido

        I’d concede your first point if I knew for a fact that Google won’t somehow mirror Microsoft’s Kin and try to remake the product in its own image.