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back to article Google's Nest gobble: Soon ALL your HOME are BELONG to US

Google’s proposed $3.2bn purchase of Nest Labs, a maker of internet-connected round-the-home devices, shows that the online advertising giant considers the Internet of Things a serious proposition. A very serious proposition. It’s easy to be dismissive of the move. Nest is best known for an internet-enabled thermostat and a …

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Anonymous Coward

But..

..would things be any better if it was Microsoft or Apple who had bought them? I seriously doubt it would be given their business practices. At least Google are relatively platform agnostic and make a lot of their APIs open.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But..

At least its not Amazon ... otherwise we'd get bombarded with emails along the lines of

"other people with homes at the same temperature as yours have looked at these wooly jumpers"

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Re: But..

If Apple bought them, it would be really expensive, have less functionality, but be reliable & easy to use.

If MS bought them, decent price, loads of functionality, unreliable and difficult to use.

Google will probably get it 'just right', but who wants all their data going to Google? Not me, thanks, I'll take MS incompetence every time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But..

The Google version will be to bombard your device with sponsored adverts for Wooly Jumpers, live sheep versions included.

If Google thinks that it is going to get ANY data about what is going on inside my house (apart from my use of google for searching then they are very much mistaken.

The same goes for the likes of LG/Samsung who want me to connect my TV to the internet just so that they can see what I'm watching and sell that data to the TV companies/advertisers

You can add to this list any other company/NCS/GCHQ/FIS that feels that it has and dibs on my personal data. I already use a number of different VM for all my financial transactions. Once used they are deleted and replaced with my baseline clean copy.

Give these leeches my data?

No, never, no-way, No!

Get it?

In order not to give them an easy target I am posting this as AC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But..

Actually, I *would* rather Microsoft or Apple.

In both cases they may try and sell me things. In Google's case over 90% of their income is derived from selling access to me and my habits (albeit at arms length and hence 'anonymously'). Of the three, Google have by far the greatest incentive to be a privacy problem.

As regards platform-agnostic? Well, they are when it suits them (as are all of them) - see for example Windows Phone with its second place in 24 markets and yet Google produce nothing for it save a minimal browser app. I understand why (WP is MS tech) but it isn't agnostic to ignore a platform used by tens of millions of people.

And open? It always amazes me that people seriously praise Google for it's open nature. They are open in everything apart from the one thing that brings them their 90+% income (their ad system). In other words, they are open when (and only when) it won't actually cost them more than peanuts (I know Android costs them, but that's a trojan horse to feed the ads empire).

Again, I understand. And it is their right to retain commercial secrets. I just despair though when openness advocates big up Google for the (for them) tiny contributions they make whilst ignoring that they retain their crown jewels. At least MS and Apple don't try and play the ecosystem-reputation game that sneakily.

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Re: But..

Apple's business model is rather more traditional - they expect payment for their products and services in cash money rather than by sucking every scintilla of your personal data so it can be auctioned off to all and sundry.

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Re: But..

Decent prices from MS? When was this?

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Re: But..

OK,

It might not be any better.

But could it be ANY WORSE ? !!!

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Anonymous Coward

Missing the point

You don't get it.

It does not matter WHO owns or controls these devices, the point is, it's collecting and selling data on us; turning us, our habbits, our lifestyle, our activities, into a product for them to sell as they see fit. I OWN ALL OF THAT!

As far as I and many others are concerned, it's no different than if somebody came over and raided your refrigerator, or stole electricity from you, or took gas out of your car.

People will use whatever means they have to in order to protect their own domain.

There is an old saying: "Stay out of people's bedroom". And to be clear, it means stay out of their personal space and domain.

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Re: But..

In some cases when compared to Oracle even the recent price hikes that MS has foisted on us can seem reasonable.

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Joke

> I'll take MS incompetence every time.

Ahh .. you must be IT support then as MS keep you in a job.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But..

Unreliable from MS? When was this?

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Re: But..

I assumed they were referring to the Surface tablet fire sale... *snicker*

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But..

You think MS doesn't use your data/sell your data/let the NSA in on your data?

Hilarous

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Re: But..

I would also rather trust Microsoft or Apple. Yes, you pay for the product you get but they don't harvest data on your habits which they then sell. As such, to make a profit out of you, they do not need to sell data on you to someone else.

Google, on the other hand, offer everything for "free" then make their money by selling advertising, and also selling tracking data.they have on you So, of course, it's in their interest to track you.

It's also worth noting that Apple are actually quite open about what they do use personal data for. Something which, in my experience, cannot be said about Google.

It's actually quite scary how much data google does apparently have on it's users. Thanks to Android, they have access to where you are at any given time. They also have access to your contacts, as well as what apps you use/games you play. Thanks to Gmail, they have access to a lot of your emails. They also operate email services for a lot of companies and other organisations but in the spirit of fairness, I am assuming that these have privacy clauses that Google honours.

If you sign in to Google, they also track what types of pages you view (the Google ads code sends back some details of the page it is running on) as well as any search terms you use.

Now, with Nest, they'll probably know what temperature you like to have your home at at any given time.

Add in Google + and you might as well forget about privacy all together.

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jai
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people's reaction unexpected?

Interesting article at theVerge... not so much on the purchase, as on everyone's reaction to it. A few years ago, most people who have had a positive response to it. Google seem to have lost a lot of people's trust.

Instead, there’s a chorus of concern — some sincere, some contrived, but all of it grounded in fear of an unchecked Google.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/14/5307530/why-is-everyone-disappointed-by-google-buying-nest

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Stop

Re: people's reaction unexpected?

Google definitely have lost my trust (they aren't the only ones but they are a primary one).

Whilst I like Android as a phone and tablet platform, from a user experience point of view, and like that the devices are sophisticated whilst being relatively well priced, I'm getting really twitchy about all the data they are gathering. Especially since there doesn't really seem any limit on how and to what purpose they use the data. Privacy policy regardless.

The more connected the world the less secure I'm feeling. Sad but true.

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@jai

"A few years ago, most people who have had a positive response to it. Google seem to have lost a lot of people's trust."

While that maybe true; it doesn't automatically mean those people will stop using their services. So in the end I think Google will most likely care less what people think. An attitude which seems to slowly, but steadily, manifest itself as of late (at least that's my impression of it).

Think YouTube. Many people cried out when Google demanded usage of their social media site (Google Rings or Circles or such (I can't be bothered to look it up)), and they even started protesting in the comment sections on many movie. But by doing so automatically also making it very clear that while they claim not to like the whole thing they still went along with it. I didn't want to get linked to social media either, but I stuck with my principles and thus I can't comment on Youtube videos for quite a while now. Can't say I get the feeling to be missing out on something though.

So I think that's what's to be expected. People may complain, but I bet there will be very few who will stick with their principles and most will just go along with it all.

And 50 years from now many will wonder how it ever happened that a company could become so influential and powerful, even though we learned a lot from Microsoft's actions. Yeah right! :P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: people's reaction unexpected?

Can't you see how powerful Google are getting at the expensive of everyone else?

People wanted to see the end to big tech monopolies like Microsoft and they've now created another one.

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Re: people's reaction unexpected?

From the Verge article: "Google clarified that a controversial plan to let Google+ users easily email nearly anyone on Gmail would be more private for "high-profile" users.

Evidently the world will be divided into two classes: common trash, and "high profile users" whom Google will allow a bit more privacy. (Of course I am omitting the much smaller third class: top Google employees and stockholders, who will be permitted to opt out of Google's data collection completely.)

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Re: Of course I am omitting the much smaller third class

Also the fourth: Google refuseniks. Yes, we're out there.

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Re: @jai

"... many will wonder how it ever happened that a company could become so influential and powerful ...".

Because tech media is not spreading this message to non-techie in proper context.

Proof?

How many reviewers mention why the Moto G (or Nexus) is so cheap, in the same article? They mention subsidy, but not linked to your privacy. They think it is about keeping the article to the point, but the context misses to reach the consumer who only goes to CNET for phone reviews.

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Re: people's reaction unexpected?

> Google definitely have lost my trust

All of them have lost mine, especially when it comes to mobile devices. The prevailing attitude appears to be, if its on a phone, I'm allowed to give you a free game and slurp all your data.

On a desktop, we call that malware. Actually we call it malware on a phone too.

What I want is companies to give cast-iron guarantees that their software only does what you expect. That means I don't want your cloud, I want my device to do the processing itself. I want a hardware off switch for the GPS and wireless. I'm happy to pay for mapping, download it to my phone and run all the processing there with no live uplink to anywhere.

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Re: people's reaction unexpected? Not at all

Rewind tape to the 1950s and you can see this all over again.

In the 1950s everyone looked forward to a bright new technology-enabled future. Science could do no wrong and everyone wanted to be in on the game. Then in the 1960s technology started to lose its bloom and the anti-techs started to rise. We had Silent Spring and all that building up a picture that technology/science are evil.

Then in 2000 the whole internet revolution really hit its straps. The internet could do no wrong. Internet everything. Web everything whether it makes sense or not. Google is the ultimate part of the web - being able to find stuff. Then the surveillance concerns (always there) became mainstream and people start to worry more about the potential downsides. Now people don't want to be found.

These cycles are just part of human nature. They will continue forever.

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"Google’s ownership of the Internet of Things starts here."

...and won't reach to here. I'll stick with the Internot of Things, thanks.

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Anonymous Coward

Nor here ...

Because I will stick with 'My Internet of Things' (tm) .. aka Arduino powered sensor cubes built and programmed by myself .. all data kept in my-cloud, secured with keys from my PKI, controlled by my code built upon the shoulders of Open Source giants.

+ RasPi based in-car PC with 3G, wifi router, ODB-II interface and GPS - v1.0 in use securely passing telemetry back home

+ Weather Station - in use for last 4 years

+ Central Heating controller - in use with bluetooth interface, RTC and remote control API

+ Alarm status monitor - almost built

+ Room monitor cubes (PIR / occupancy + humidity + temp + mains relay) - initial prototype design

+ RasPi based network hub - initial prototype built

Network hub will collate inside and outside sensor information and uses calendar events, weather trends and car telemetry to allow heuristic heating / lighting / alerting home automation functions.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't even begin to understand how a thermostat (albeit a rather cool thermostat) manufacturer is worth $3.2. what am I missing?

Do they have a patent that Google /really/ want?

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps reading the article would help you understand?

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Just based on income alone (not profit), it would take 26 years to cover the cost of acquiring the company. Obviously the patents and potential data acquisition is worth a lot to google.

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jai
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privacy

>“Our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services,” says Rogers. “We’ve always taken privacy seriously and this will not change.”

So a good thing that they weren't bought by Facebook then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: privacy

Don't worry, I am sure they will integrate Facebook and twitter for the idiots out there who want people to know exactly what temperature their house is at...

Next will be the fridge, so your midnight snack is tweeted.

Then the TV, just imagine the tweets... 'john bloggs is watching television X'

Soon your toilet, "John Bloggs has taken a big dump!"

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Re: privacy

"So a good thing that they weren't bought by Facebook then.!"

Or Google...Oh wait.....

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"That server technology can undoubtedly scale far beyond the traffic Nest currently handles"

And you undoubtedly know this because? Just because a company / service has low traffic atm does not mean they are capable of handling more. A poor architecture and bad programming may not show at low traffic levels but they undoubtedly will with more traffic.

Maybe report facts rather than your bad assumptions?

"forcing anyone using a product based on Nest technology to adopt Google as a service provider (again as Android users must)."

I'd like to introduce you to this little thing called the Kindle Fire. You've probably never heard of it because they aren't very popular and are only sold by a very small niche company but it runs Android and does not require or even have Google as a service provider.

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Headmaster

(albeit willingly given).

That's a definition of 'willing' which I wasn't aware of previously.

The amount of data Google collects through all kinds of hooks in all kinds of widely used scripts in just about everybody's websites is staggering, and only those that know about how to block those scripts without fubaring the website involved (if the latter bit is sufficiently important) and on the other hand not care enough to do so could be said to willingly hand over that data.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (albeit willingly given).

Indeed.

Visit any site using any of the following and Google know you (and be aware your browser string alone has enough ancillary info to make you virtually unique without cookies):

AdWords

Google Analytics

Google Web Fonts

Google CDN and script servers

Google+ button (even if you don't click it)

And probably more ...

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Re: (albeit willingly given).

The only thing that breaks websites if blocked are Google script servers.

I know this because I block everything else.

I am hoping, as they are easily downloaded and analysed, that if there is nefarious spying code in Google scripts someone would have noticed and reported it by now. My Javascript skill and is not nearly good enough and I don't posses the patience/time required to do such a thing anyway.

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Re: (albeit willingly given).

All those are on my proxy's block list in addition to blocking on AdBlock.

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Accurate statistics on environment are the basis for design

Dumbo design, that fails to cope with the noise, stresses, and human factors that users experience cause product failures that could be uncovered by beta testing in accurate simulations of the users world. Smart-use of annonomous statistical data about the environment on the road, in the store and at home are at the heart of successfully Google services. Lazy lab rats should get out of their labs to make sure that their field tests represent the users' world. Search Plus Users World is about personal service. Nest is an opportunity to encrypt home data everywhere it persists and use it only consistent with user service.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't need

(nor want) a shiny blue disc-shaped spy on the wall. As far as I'm concerned, they can spend 200 billion on this purchse, who cares? The only thing that concerns me is that, by being a global "trend-setter" (yuk!), and because their devices will become a de facto "standard", they will force the "connectiveness" into being a legal requirement. Or, simply by squeezing non-connected devices out of production.

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Where's the off switch?

All I care about on the great google data slurp is, that if I buy a washing machine with this trash installed, will there be a network card I can easily remove to ensure my stuff isn't being sent to the overlord in Cali or do I have to get a screwdriver and pliers out to take the machine apart and then put it through a shredder?

When they start paying me hard cash for my data then they can have it, until then telling me how to save energy is a waste of time. Many free websites already exist which do that for free and don't ask for anything in return. Hell I could write one, turn down the thermostat and switch the lights off. Easy. Sorted.

This is just another data land grab dressed up as a "service" to mine data and flog it to anyone that wants it.

Buy 'n' Large here we come.

Also why is this spying allowed in any way, shape or form?

Government agencies require a judge issued warrant to look at anything an internet user searches for, phone calls etc. Why can these companies do the same thing with a few shady lines in their T&Cs?

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This internet of things

Maybe don't plug the fridge into the ethernet/don't put in the WiFi password? That's what I'd do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: don't plug in /wifi

But then they will put in a minimal (mobile) phone instead.

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Re: This internet of things

C'mon Alan. Quit offering up simple solutions to people's over-the-top rants. This is El Reg, and we demand the right to gnash our teeth and wail

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Re: This internet of things

You'll need a net connection to Get Genuine within 30 days.

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Re: This internet of things

Some of the new cards power themselves of errant radio signals in your house, WiFi, TV or radio waves etc so don't need to be powered.

These can run a radio transmitter that can send it's own signal, all low powered of course so not much range however, what are the chances it will connect to your Android run phone or the streetview car cruising past your house and send the data on that way whether you agree or not?

For google plugging the fridge in will be accepting the lack of privacy T&Cs

Unless the tracking chip can be physically removed they'll find a way to take the data whether you want to give it to them or not.

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Re: don't plug in /wifi

I'd be fine here then.

There's no signal because someone has put a mountain between my cottage and the rather inaccurately named "Everything Everywhere" mast.

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Re: This internet of things

> You'll need a net connection to Get Genuine within 30 days.

I'm sorry, your fridge is counterfeit.

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Trollface

Re: don't plug in /wifi

@AC from 15:00, move into a Faraday cage then ;-)

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Re: This internet of things

Unfortunately, it's relatively easy for them to make the tracking chip very difficult to remove. Just integrate it (or it's functionality) with one of the other chips that modern fridges inexplicably need to keep something cold.

*wishes for a return to the days of fridges just having a pump, some piping and the minimal circuitry required to control the pump..

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You can't not get this

“Our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services”

That's right folks - we use your information to provide an improved service to our, eh, "special" customer. Available soon our new thermostat with FREE webcam!

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