According to a press release put out on Monday, Google has acquired another tech company. Now, Google’s no stranger to acquisitions—having scarfed up more than twenty companies in the last year alone—and has bought out a number of companies in the worlds of VoIP, Robotics, Wind Turbines, Coupons, and plenty more. But when Google announced it’s $3.2 Billion cash agreement with Nest Labs, Inc. this week, it raised more than a few eyebrows.
And not just eyebrows: it accidentally raised the value of a penny stock, Nestor, by 1900%.
OK, so Google has another neat, seemingly innocuous gadget company in its tool belt—it’s just expanding into the hardware market, which is admittedly its weaker area—what’s the big deal? Plus, there’s the happy middle finger that they get to throw Apple’s way (Nest Labs, Inc. is run by the creator of the iPod). Seems like a big win.
But we’re suspicious that Google isn’t just really psyched about smoke alarms.
The press releases quotes Google CEO Larry Page saying of Nest Labs, “They’re already delivering amazing products … 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!” And it made us wonder, why has Google all of sudden become so concerned with home safety?
And then we got a little paranoid.
Maybe it’s all the Snowden in the air, but we got to thinking: could Google be on its way to becoming Big Brother? Think about the facial recognition, RoboCop-esque capabilities in Google Glass being developed over at their labs. How far off it would be for Google to incorporate that same technology into iOS- and Android-equipped smoke alarms, installed in “more homes in more countries” all over the world?
Tony Fadell, Nest Labs’ CEO, said in the press release that he believed Google would help Nest build “simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world.” And while we don’t doubt that they could… we’re just saying you may want to keep your voice down around your thermostat.
In fact, it might not be a bad idea for us to be cloaking this blog post.
Whatever Google’s fascination with home safety may be, we’re sure they’ll be doing some big things with Nest Lab’s products. We’re looking forward to seeing where they go next, hopefully before they see us.