Google Just Turned Nest into Your Smart Home Hub

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The Nest Learning Thermostat just became more than a slick way to manage the temperature in your home. With the new Works with Nest platform, third-party companies can tie into the thermostat to remotely control devices or to adjust your home's temperature based on what you're doing or where you are -- even if that's in your car.

Google's Nest may be your new home automation hubGoogle's Nest may be your new home automation hub

Several companies have already signed on as Works with Nest partners, such as Mercedes, Whirlpool, LIFX, and Jawbone. That's a diverse mix, and shows just deep into our lives the technology can go to manage our homes for us. By tracking the location of your car, for example, Nest can determine if you're on the way home and adjust the temperature so it's exactly where you want when you walk in the door.

Nest is also buying Dropcam for US$555 million, adding remote video monitoring to the mix, too.

Linking to a Jawbone Up can tell Nest when you're active or not, and if you're staying up late, to keep your room comfortable. Through Google Now, smartphone owners can speak to change their thermostat settings, too.

By creating the software developers need to tie into the Nest Learning Thermostat, Google can create a home automation empire without needing to build all of the hardware itself -- much like Apple is doing with HomeKit when iOS 8 ships this fall.

Apple announced HomeKit as part of iOS 8 during its annual Worldwide Developer Conference at the beginning of June. HomeKit turns your iPhone into a nexus for managing smart devices in your home. When used with Siri, statements like, "Time for bed," translate into commands that lock your doors, turn off lights, and turn down the thermostat.

Google and Apple both have long lists of companies promising support for their platforms, which should make for some strong competition in the fight to control our homes. That's good news for consumers who will start finding more devices that work with their home automation platform of choice: either Apple's iOS or Google's Android.

Where Nest may stumble comes over privacy concerns. The company is owned by Google, and although its own privacy policy prohobits sharing personal information with the Internet search giant without explicit permission, there are still concerns that what happens in our homes will become just more information to be sold to advertisers.

Considering the popularity of both operating systems, it isn't likely there will be a clear winner in this fight, and that's OK because developers will support both. Home owners can buy the devices they want, and they'll just work regardless of whether they're connecting to Nest or HomeKit. In this fight, consumers will have plenty to choose from.

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Comments

mhikl

This kind of stuff creeps me out. I read (maybe at TMO) that eventually all home devices will be intelligent. I strand firm that intelligence is vastly overrated. I find the dumb more obliging and willing to listen to and to do what they’re told to do (by me) without interruption or complaint. That is a good thing.

In these times of internet (& especially google) and government tracking and storing our personal information, the stupider my home appliance be, the sounder I sleep.

I don’t want to have to have ice delivered to me door, but I also don’t want my refrigerator nagging me about the cholesterol in my fridge and then sending that info to the cholesterol Nazis . (I like cholesterol FWIW and the more the merrier.)  Such info is so outside any such blankety-blank contraption’s right to know and spread outside the confines of my kitchen.

[Though I wouldn’t mind knowing what’s in the neighbours’ fridges as I do run out of things on occasion.]

jfbiii

Did you mean to say:

By tracking the location of your car, for example, Nest can determine if you’re on the way home and adjust the ads it serves so it’s exactly what their customers are paying for you to see.

geoduck

Ok maybe I’m not the first here but let me just say:

Oh HELL NO

DIdn’t you just write something about how Amazon was bucking the trend of public opinion. How public opinion was starting to want to protect their privacy?

I’ll say it again: Oh HELL No.

jbruni

As much as I like my Nest, I do not trust Google. Therefore, this will be a short battle.

ibuck

The big questions regarding this automation:
Who is in control of these devices?
And who is getting this information?

mhikl

Exactly geoduck, jbruni and ibuck:
We are looking at a future from hell sponsored by the likes of google, amazon.com, the state (governments of all kind <see Chomsky-consistent fellow> with the possible exception of the one closest to us, civic governments for cities, towns and municipalities-the level with the least power and money to serve its citizenry- See books by Jane Jacobs), Big Pharma and conventional medicine (“around the Second World War medicine ceased being a profession and became an industry”): Nora Gegaudas: “Primal Body, Primal Mind”; faster on youtube.

Gun toting Red Necks deserve more respect than they are given; they have seen the problem far earlier than most. However, in their fear and actions they have desperately gravitated to the gun & digging hidden fortresses in the hills. However their guns are like pea shooters to the weapons the government has at hand and its intent is ruthless; and their hideouts are easily tracked and make for great target practice.

There is another means and we have only to look to the patient freedom fighters such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King. We can start by refusing these subversive entries of subtle spying and return to understanding and protecting the rights and freedoms for which our forefathers fought in two horrendous world wars.

Lee Dronick

Or you could live here in San Diego and not worry too much about adjusting the temperature. Just enjoy the climate’s year round 70°. smile

Seriously, how does the Nest connect to the internet? WiFi built in? Another hub on the router?

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