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Google to Acquire Nest (investor.google.com)
684 points by coloneltcb on Jan 13, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 568 comments

Am I the only one who thought "well, good for the Nest guys" followed by "too bad, it looked like a good product"?

Yeah, motorola products have completely gone down the toilet after that acquisition. They were so great before with fast updates and a wonderful skin of android, and now they're either non-innovative or way too overpriced for the value.

Please, no more sarcasm. you've filled this thread with confusion.

Not everybody follows the details of OS version updates on Motorola phones.

Yep. I'll go even further: in this case, "not everybody" means "nobody."

Nobody, aside from the people on XDA and /r/Android. And maybe a few on HN.

If i'm not mistaken, Google has been dipping it's toes in home automation for some time.



To acquire home statistics. Can you imagine the personal data gathering? And the $ value attached to that data?

All sweetened with sugar for you to buy the product, connect, and give your data for free.

Oh how I would love to be a fly on the wall and look at who exactly is pulling these strings.

Government? - Which ones Private equity? - Which sticky hands Other Countries? - Which ones & what would the data be worth to them?

This is why I disapprove of services such as: Google glass, Home automation data gathering, Car & transport data gathering.

I'm not an 'all-or-nothing' kind of guy, but sheesh....

And that 23andMe DNA gathering product: https://www.23andme.com/ It's like a totalitarian wet dream.

Yeah, if you're on the cynical side of the whole "Google is co-opted by the government to help track and control the populace" idea, which you have no reason not to be after the NSA leaks, it is absolutely terrifying.

I am definitely not into conspiracy theories, but: if Google is really doing this out of best intentions which I can totally buy, and Google has no interest in spying on anyone personally, but only in selling ads, which I can also buy, I think it is still a problem. The thing is that once every household has a smart Internet connected gadget with eyes and ears and a way to load software onto it remotely, it is just too big a target for someone like the NSA not to go after. Why not load spy software on these just in case? Oh and it can all be legal and it can be made illegal for Google or Nest or whoever to talk about it.

The analogy here is something like the OnStar system in recent cars. I don't think that many people who made it happen primarily did so to give the banks a way to find and repo cars, but once a large percentage of cars have this system it does enable banks to do it much more efficiently. Not to mention what the authorities can do with these same systems.

Yeah, you've got to be really careful about cynicism. It's very easy to venture into David Icke territory.

I can't help but feel that this is a funded attempt to subvert power away from OPEC nations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPEC

If so, could be to help these guys: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Sisters_(oil_companies)

It says in this article:http://ow.ly/syrfO "Google is a widely-known proponent of “green” energy, promoting low-power data centres and clean grid-based power whenever possible."

Excluding "It is good for mankind & the Earth", Why is it important to 'reduce' in western nations, when so many developing/upcoming/industrial/manufacturing/oil nations are laughing at this policy?

Something's up. And it isn't share price. Sorry for my conspiracy feelings -My instinct tells me there will be comments about being overly-conspiratorial (If so, this will suggest my instincts are correct), but I'm more than worried about my children's children and their future.

For some reason in these Austere times, there's a squeeze going on which is being driven by more than you and I are presently being told.

This is absurd. That data isn't worth anything, let alone to make up for the investment in these things. No one cares that you turn off your lights at 9:43, or that you are at slightly more risk for diabetes. At least not advertisers or the government. And the government isn't paying for this stuff anyways, they just get a court order to take it for free.

If you are so afraid of data gathering it's pretty much impossible to do a lot of technologies. I can understand being against centralization and sending that data over a network to third parties. But even that is necessary in order to improve the product. You want your self driving car to have billions of hours of experience behind it, right?

"No one cares that you turn off your lights at 9:43, or that you are at slightly more risk for diabetes. At least not advertisers..."

Seriously? Lifestyle information is a gold mine for advertisers. If someone is diabetic, they need drugs, so I'm sure going to serve up more pharmaceutical ads (and those pay very well). If they're running the heater, they're almost certainly in the market for a jacket, blanket, or similar. Suddenly using "auto away" for stretches at a time? I bet they're traveling for work, and could use some luggage or a vacation to throw mileage points at.

Waay more profitable than just throwing random crap out there and seeing what sticks.

um, wat? I was commenting regarding ugly OEM themes ruining the paragon of perfection that is AOSP. I think you may have meant to reply to someone else.

just write:

>Yeah, motorola products have completely gone down the toilet after that acquisition. They were so great before with fast updates and a wonderful skin of android, and now they're either non-innovative or way too overpriced for the value. /s

it would have saved http://imgur.com/2iha7bO

Well, I think sarcasm is the appropriate response to a top comment that contains no information besides "I don't like this".

He could have told us why he doesn't like this, or give us an example of another company that was acquired by Google where the result was bad for consumers, then at least we could have had a discussion about this.

But this way it's only "I don't like this" vs "I like it" and there are definitely more interesting discussions with more information in this thread that could have been upvoted.

Motorola not withstanding, Google has a history of killing/closing well-loved products (profitability aside).

While I am not upset by this acquisition, I can certainly understand the sentiment.

I can't speak to validity of the top comment being only that aforementioned opinion, nor am I suggesting that sarcasm was inappropriate, but I think this only highlights the upvote/downvote mechanism as an I agree/disagree button more than a add to/ doesn't add to the discussion button.

Yeah, and like Android and Youtube. Sarcasm aside, Google has actually done pretty well with acquisitions compared to other companies. (Say ones that begin with "M" or "Y").

You can see the list in wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisition...

YouTube was fine when Google wrote checks and got out of the way. Now Larry and co. have their hands all over it and YT is slowly going to shit... from the G+ spam to the annotation spam and of course you need to sign in to keep them turned off (lol maybe!), to "hey let's make you rebuffer the whole video you just watched" to just horrid performance drops in general to "hey we found a way to make YT comments even worse".

I can't feel that we'd be much better off if MS had decided to lose billions on YouTube along with Bing and Google had pressed ahead with Google Video as a legitimate competitor.

"hey we found a way to make YT comments even worse"

Could they get any worse? Seriously does any normal thinking person really participate and contribute comments in that quagmire? I sometimes I thank Google and Yahoo for creating those honey pots for the internet brain-dead to vent their steam and vitriol, keeping them well away from stuff I like to constructively participate in.

Well, since they are (more) tightly integrated with Google+ you get even more inane one-liners like 'interesting' that somebody posted with sharing the video, and useless banter in conversation threads following these shares.

Actually the comment quality on the videos I watch seems to have improved markedly since the G+ integration...

Coincidence? No clue... Still, all the "OMG G+ will destroy youtube!1!" whining is looking pretty stupid...

I agree... it is still horrible, but it seems to be slightly less horrible now.

I always thought of them as the "song ID" section for artsy videos, because that's what they used to be good for. Now even that is broken.

I'd love to see Nest integrated with Google+.

"OMG LOL your house is burning down."

Was just noting today how crappy youtube has become. Agree with you totally.


comments, ads, channels, even the way the video buffers is annoying smfh

while its hard to argue with your point. YT is a huge revenue generating product. Now more than ever Google is probably being pressured by the "content owners" and trying to balance the need for creators to market their channels and helping them grow through questionable content. I think with a mature, product like YT its understandable.

I understand the ads, and they blocking videos just because somebody passed aroung listenning to a music. I don't care about comments at all, thus I don't even know how they changed...

But what I'm unable to accept is why the client won't let me buffer a video and erases everything just as soon as it's diplayed on the screen. It does not make downloading the content any harder - all it does is making me download the videos, whatch them and delete, because the official player sucks.

Agree , I generally look forward to vimeo as an alternative

While I agree with the statement, lately Google's action has been concerning (with things like Reader, Google+ push, and what not).

I just don't want to see Google dominating the world. Competition is nice.

Are you implying that google did a disservice to the competition by creating a desire for a product and then retiring it with months of warning for competitors to develop their product and attract google's large user base while allowing users to easily migrate their information to those services?

Google did a disservice by creating a free service with which other companies (who need to make a profit) couldn't compete. The only way to make any money in the RSS space was to create something that interfaced with Google Reader (which I know because I spent a lot of time trying to find a good one that didn't).

There are parallels to the Internet Explorer/Netscape issue. Google provided a free service to everyone, killing any good paid services/products (which didn't integrate with Google Reader), except instead of taking advantage of their monopoly they just threw it away.

Now you have companies like Reeder, with a sufficiently large user base, who have to not only scramble to provide their own backend (or integrate with someone else's), but also scale it to the appropriate number of users literally overnight, which is not necessarily an easy task for a company which has, so far, only needed to have client-side developers (which is why most client apps, like Reeder, moved to using some other company for their backend instead of writing their own).

There was certainly no malicious intent, but they basically crushed an entire market and then abandoned it.

"literally overnight"

3.5 months.

Also, you'll be hard-pressed to find much upward pressure beyond free on this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_feed_aggregators

> There are parallels to the Internet Explorer/Netscape issue. Google provided a free service to everyone, killing any good paid services/products (which didn't integrate with Google Reader), except instead of taking advantage of their monopoly they just threw it away.

"except instead of taking advantage of their monopoly". Woww way to telegraph the fact that you completely misunderstood the Internet Explorer/Netscape issue. Parallels with IE/Netscape are meaningless if the monopoly _gets thrown away_.

That is actually a very good point. With all the lamenting of Google Reader sunsetting, positive externalities are ignored. And they are plentiful: multiple startups have springed up to compete for new audience, established companies like Feedly have experienced an influx of users and the landscape generally became much more competitive.

In the warsaw circle countries, we had a joke (and I say it as a fairly hardline socialist) that „communism heroically solves the problems it created”.

Sounds like the case.

I agree with vdaniuk, that it is a good point. It changed my mind a bit.

On consideration, I'm a big fan of Google, Apple and Amazon. The thing that makes me (and probably others) nervous about all three is that they are too big. For instance, a monopolist strategy (Microsoft style) might appear someday.

Yes and we can find tons of examples where they haven't done well, e.g. Jaiku which they pretty much threw away, Dodgeball which let the founders leave in anger and got them to found Foursquare outside of Google etc...

You're looking at this the wrong way. Google acquisitions tend to go two ways: talent acquisition, or hitting for homeruns. Is it worth it to Google if they buy a Jaiku and a Dodgeball and a bunch of other relatively small companies and essentially whiff, then knock it out of the park when they buy an Android or a YouTube? Short termers always back, but when you look back over the last five years the overall strategy has been sound.

With specific regards to Foursquare: note that the founder left to do Foursquare, and they're floundering right now. Maybe the vision was never sound to begin with.


Oh, not Y! (although some have speculated that Mayer move was a reverse-acquisition)

Sarcasm aside? I think the case could be made that those products have grown in public perception, but also suffered at the same time very definitely because of Google influence. Take the second comment ever by one of the YouTube founders? https://www.youtube.com/user/jawed/ for a quick example

One can object to Google's Plussification of everything, but it's not like the quality of Youtube comments have been harmed. (In fact these XKCD comics may be obsolete now: https://www.google.com/search?q=youtube+comments+site%3Axkcd... ) And Youtube overall has done quite well.

Android would have gone nowhere without being acquired, since OEMs and carriers wouldn't talk to such a small company.

Yes it gives you traction, when otherwise people might not have heard of you, but you also lose your identity more than ever. In the past when Google acquired something it was like "Yay! Google!" now it is like "Yay that company! And sorry." Actually the top comment in this thread nailed my immediate feelings pretty well.


I think there a lot of things to bash Google on, but the outcome of Motorola is not one of them. The G and X look like great phones and they were all pieces of shit before.

the parent comment was sarcasm.

I immediately thought 'google will tie this into your google phone for you. That could be pretty nice.'

I think the concern is that they'll tie it into their data collections practices. An online page to manage your thermostat(s) remotely and grant access to the API, but you have to sign in with your Google+ account to access it.

pspb is clearly making an ill-advised attempt at sarcasm.

I don't mind sarcasm as long it's marked "<sarcasm>...</sarcasm>" at the least.

You're being sarcastic right? Sorry if it's a dumb question.

Everything I just said is the exact opposite of reality, so yes.

Poe's law explains why sarcasm doesn't work on the internet:

  "Without a blatant display of humor, it is impossible to 
  create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that 
  someone won't mistake for the real thing." [1]
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe's_law

(edit: Poe's Law always reminds me of this SNL skit where Fred Armisen tells Jimmy Fallon that the right way to tell a joke is to use a "catch phrase": http://video.tvguide.com/Saturday+Night+Live/Weekend+Update+...)

Well not exactly: the one(?) form of sarcasm that works very well is when the facts being stated are clearly false. Though obviously this does rely on the audience knowing the factual background...

It relies on more than that. Not only does this rely on the audience to know the factual background, but it also relies on them coming to the conclusion that you also know the factual background and are not just uninformed, misinformed, or plain wrong. Sarcasm on the internet only works well between people who are familiar with one another.

This also relies on a similar cultural background. You'd be surprised at the cultural differences between US/California (a lot of the posters here) and Eastern Europe (my case). And my situation is mild - imagine how this scales between US/California and someone from a completely different culture (China, Africa, India). Actually it doesn't scale at all :)

If you must use sarcasm, here are a couple of common ways: 1) Yeah...because>(rest of comment) [the ellipsis will clarify that the comment is sarcasm at least some of the time but its reliability is not perfect]

2) end your comment with '/s' [most people know this means the previous comment was meant as sarcasm. it should be the preferred method of communicating sarcasm and the sentiment that the referenced recipient is obviously wrong]

Let's hope you're being ironic :)

"Fast updates"? "Wonderful skin of Android"? Yes, that's sarcasm. MotoBlur was a prime example of egregious and UX-destroying vendor meddling with Android.

Like the Moto G?

Exactly a phone with an S4 pro for $180?!?! A complete rip-off I tell you.


The Moto X and G are a really GOOD value...

I hope the next Nexus phone is made by Motorola. I really like the body of their devices. I wanted to get a Moto X developer edition but it was too expensive, unfortunately.

(sarcasm) - use it!

!I wish sarcasm punctuation caught on⸮

sarcasm detector is reading off the meter... sarcasm detector broken


Actually believe it or not but this is a very very expensive acqu-hire. First engineer on the IPhone team? Father of the IPOD? given the size of the smartphone industry and given what apple has become because of the iphone one could argue that the dude is worth half a billion.

This is the most overlooked aspect of this acquisition.

My brother works in HVAC, and I've seen some of the automation available - - the trouble is that the systems aren't intuitive to the user and do very little to think on their own outside of if statements from the sensors.

I would have much rather seen this as a technology/algorithm hire from a company like Honeywell or some other established HVAC company, which could have kept selling the Nest (and their new smoke detector, etc.) but also incorporated the technology into higher-tech commercial/industrial systems, where you some companies could probably save millions a year through more intelligent control and management systems.

Honestly, HVAC is a fantastic industry with plenty of room for innovation. This being said, there's far more accurate automation in industrial applications than around the home. A good example of this work is within airports and casinos. The new Vancouver Convention Centre is something worth reading up on too.

For technically-inclined individuals, understanding how water, air and gas move is the ticket to a proper disruption. This goes beyond the bandaid fix of a good, intuitive thermostat, and into the circulation of fresh air and overall design of the home.

I will say though, that smoke detector is awesome. Here's hoping that Google doesn't just shut down the good work that's been done.

On the contrary, get ready for the Google Home Security System!

Complete with hidden NSA silent remote deactivation codes.

"Steve is out of the house" shared publicly on google plus.

Ha. Robbers can already see if I'm out of the house by my instagram feed.

Not mine. I'd never use instagram - but now I can't buy a Nest thermostat, which I used to want.

I never found my Nest to be all that intelligent beyond "I wonder if he'll notice it's colder now?" "Oh wait, he turned me up, I guess he noticed." It's a game of cat and mouse with that darn auto-away enabled sometimes.

I find the learning functionality to be a nuisance. What makes it awesome is the design, the remote control, and the scheduling interface.

I figured as much. Just seems like a big fuss over a whole lot of nothing though if that's all it is. And 3.2 billion for that? Why couldn't Google just make their own that does exactly the same thing? I think its trendiness is all people really care about.

If it helps, as Verge commenters reminded me, it's 3.2 Instagrams, 0.8 Snapchats or 0.4 Skypes. :D

High end commercial/industrial HVAC systems already have automation that far outperforms anything Nest offers. Google up "honeywell comfortpoint".

I'm wondering if you expect him to design (Android) phones, where his talent would indeed be able to scale and justify the price — or do you see Google hiring him to lead a domotic division, and his price is based on Nest gorgeous, but not as-iconic products (yet)? Or is my distinction irrelevant in 2014, the year of wrist-servers?

As I understand it the way an aqui-hire works is that the buyer pays enough to buy off the liquidity preferences of the investors with little left over for the founders. But the founders, along with the much of the rest of the staff, gets jobs and golden handcuffs with the acquirer -- which puts their total compensation a few years out somewhere between a 'real' exit and what they would have gotten if they had gone to work for the acquirer in the first place.

In this case, there were only a few investment rounds, all of which were reported to be big 'up' rounds, and the (huge) deal was reported to be all cash. All of which suggests that at least the co-founders, and probably at least several others, are going to be very very rich on day one working at Google. Which in turn is not a circumstance very conducive to effective golden handcuffs.

IMHO, if he wanted to work on new phones for large corporation he'd probably stay at Apple and not created his own company (getting full financial independence along the way). Of course 4 years have passed, maybe he's ready for some new experience.

Maybe he's ready for a billion dollars.

Yeah, I can't imagine this is too much more than an acqui-hire. The co-founder of Nest built the first iPod. Why wouldn't Google want him? Skipping over the whole "Google+ everywhere" argument, there's really not much data they can merge into my already-too-extensive G+ profile from my thermostat, other than I don't like being cold in the winter or hot in the summer to the tune of 70 degrees.

I understand that POV, but one would think that for $3.2B Google could have reinvented Nest ten times over. What's so unique (and protectable) about Nest that would make it worth what Google paid? Is their IP so broad and deep? Is there some fast-closing window most of us don't see? I'm boggled.

>>but one would think that for $3.2B Google could have reinvented Nest ten times over.

Google is a very big company. I think they are already 50,000 employees in strength. A company so big is not very good at this 'inventing' stuff. There are likely a few engineering oasis somewhere in Google, but the bulk of the company is your ordinary mid level managers, controlling people at grass roots. Their likely goal is to cripple innovation with full force to prevent engineers from looking smart. Add all kinds of pointless bureaucracy.

Spending $3.2B in such ventures in such set ups only leads to a heavily delayed project. Clueless MBA's turned project/product managers enforcing their brain dead ideas in technology areas. Other managers venturing into gold digging, lazy people being elevated as abstract thought leaders etc.

Its best to just to buy something from outside and give them autonomy.

well said. Autonomous small engineering units are the paradigm of current and past inventing. Skunk works, phantom works, etc. All of the MBA's combined with their fancy powerpoint presentations don't amount to 2 solid engineers with a whiteboard.

Could not agree more.

Considering they have revenue & a business model - it's more palatable than snapchat getting offered 3B by FB in cash & turning it down.

Thoughts, in order: "Good for the Nest gu... wait, how much?! And good for them to decide that even with a functional business they had to take it."

Anything is more palatable than that spectacular, cosmic-scale, epic failure.

My opinion of SnapChat is that it's not worth much because the founder lacks empathy — although the execution and success were (lucky and) impressive. Facebook on the other hand is a company I admire.

I see why you'd see one trying to control the other and being rejected as a failure, but I actually felt relieved that nastiness hasn't be rewarded now, hoping they'll pay soon (and not so surprised by SnapChat's arrogance).

No, my first thought was "wow, good for the Nest guys" followed by "too bad, I really don't want Google Analytics hanging on my wall."

Exactly my thoughts as well. Since I've never been keen on Google's ambitions to rival the various alphabet-soup agencies on what they know about everyone, I guess I can cross that off the list of upgrades I'll be doing when I replace the heater this spring.

The great meta-data bonus here is just "away". Now Google will have a much better idea of when you're not in your house. Why would I want Google to know when I'm not at home? I love the Nest. It's an exemplary work of UI, UX and engineering. But I've just turned off the network connection, and I won't be recommending it to any family or friends.

I think it is about the smart grid; the electric grid is supposed to adjust production of electricity to actual demand;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_grid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV_pickup

Here you really need a good analytics engine that combines measurements of quadrillion sensors; (actually my gripe is that all these sensors and the networking that connects them also needs some electricity, so where are the savings?)

I guess google is a big public company that has to produce constant growth figures for the stock market, they see the limits that can be squeezed out of adds, so they are looking for different markets; in corporate speak you would say 'leveraging core competences into the utilities market'

You can see this diversification in other areas: once upon a time a lot of people thought that Android is about creating demand for adds, nowadays Motorola is actually supposed to sell phones.

I'm trying to think of a tech acquisition that was favorable, or at the very least not unfavorable for the consumer.

It seems like tech (maybe all) acquisitions almost always favor the buyer and not the consumer.

Does anybody have any good examples?

Here are just a few examples:

- Keyhole (now Google Maps)

- Android Inc.

- Motorola Mobility

- GrandCentral (now Google Voice)

- NeXT

- Siri

In general, an acquired company initially became successful by bringing value to consumers. When that company is acquired, it gets more resources to bring more value to customers.

Don't forget Translate. It actually early on was an out-of-house service, but they kept buying companies and hiring people to work on it, and it got massively better. (So a lot like Keyhole/Maps: they took something it would cost you thousands of dollars a month for (literally, for Keyhole access), made it free, and made it better.)

Also Wordly (became Google Docs)

Google Voice is effectively a dead product, isn't it? Doesn't seem that favorable to me.

I use it every single day. I wouldn't call it dead.

We'll see if Google tries to wholly replace it with hangouts. I wouldn't be mad unless it were missing features.

Dead meaning Google has put it out to pasture and will eventually kill it for good.

Dead in the sense that there has not been feature addition one for several years, yes.

That is probably best acquisition outcome. Most companies buy something good then change it until it sucks.

The best acquisition outcome is something like Android or Kinect, definitely not watching GrandCentral stagnate for years after acquisition.

Kinect was not an acquisition. MS licensed the device from PrimeSense. Apple bought the company recently.

Except for one feature that users have been screaming for, since near day one: MMS support.

And not in a hacked "if you're with TMo/Sprint, you -might- be able to get an email with the MMS in a format that's not reply-able" (and even that, only recently).

It's kept working for the last 3 years being awesome... Doesn't seem that dead to me.

Not completely. When they came out with hangout integration in gmail, I completely lost all ability to make outgoing calls for a long time.

Reader kept working until they turned it off.

Yes but it wasn't dead until they killed it.

I keep my 10 year old cell phone number alive and well on voice.google.com, it works great.

> Google Voice is effectively a dead product, isn't it?

Voice might be dead as a brand; Google's unification of communications trend might mean that the technology and functionality will eventually be merged into Hangouts.

Yes, Google Voice as a separate product is definitely going away. Its functionality will be subsumed by Hangouts, but nothing about that transition is clear to users.

Grand Central's acquisition was great for Americans and the few of us Canadians who were grandfathered in, but outside of the US (and Alberta for some reason), we lost a great service.

Keyhole became Google Earth, not Maps (they were created in-house)

I don't see the YouTube acquisition as being harmful.

Pixar is still making (some) good movies under Disney.

I'm sure there are more examples.

I would say it's debatable as to whether YouTube has been harmful. I think many aren't a fan of the licensing changes and other experience elements, but maybe those would have happened anyway.

I agree w/ Pixar to some extent, but it seems they have seen a slight decline in quality recently (Cars 2, Monsters University, Brave). I think particularly, they may be looking for more opportunities to exploit previous franchises vs. making quality films. Cars 2 was the best example of this, as was evident by the mounds of merchandise on store shelves following the release.

Again, both of these are debatable, but I still don't think you can say in either case that the acquisition was favorable to the consumer.

I think youtube wouldn't have managed to continue operations without a company like google stepping in. It was running massive bandwidth costs and did not have the ad network in place to monetize.

> Pixar is still making (some) good movies under Disney.

Pixar movie quality seems to have dropped, while Disney's have gone up after the acquisition.


Cars 2 was clearly a release for money (they make more money of Cars merchandise than they do from films), but the other films?

Even with a handful of merely good movies, we still have four outstanding Pixar films post-Disney.

Also, I'm really enjoying the increase in quality of Disney movies post-Pixar. Just saw Frozen last week and loved it.

But given the timeline of producing those types of films, I wonder how much of those four was already in-motion prior to the deal closing?

I'm sure that all of them were, actually, which makes the post-purchase Pixar picture less pretty.

I think what helps explain this image is that it's likely everything before Cars 2 was already in development prior to the acquisition. Pixar seems to have lost some of their magic, however Disney is certainly stepping up their game. The aesthetic divide between them is shrinking. I did not like Wreck It Ralph though. Not at all.

Before Pixar was acquired by Disney they had a partnership.

Another example: Bungie made some great games under Microsoft.

Funny, I would have held Pixar and YouTube up as counterexamples.

Android, Inc., also acquired by Google, seemed to work out well for the consumer, I would say.

I just don't get why anyone would hold android up as an example of success, given the comments in the following thread.

The gap between expectations & execution on android is tremendous. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7053108

The comparison isn't between "what Android could be under Google" and "what Android is under Google".

The comparison is between "what Android could be as an independent company" and "what Android is under Google".

I think ultimately Android is doing a lot better for a lot more people than it would have had it remained independent. I'm also having a hard time imagining anyone else that could've acquired them and achieved substantially better results (see: Microsoft's handling of the Danger acquisition).

I would argue Hotmail — Microsoft brought scaling and maturity, and kept a stronghold on the net long enough to actually threaten and push Google further. I doubt Gmail would have appeared without that acquisition.

But then again: the dozen other examples cited above are certainly better.

Apple buying NeXT.

A large number of Google acquisitions involve Google making a product free that before cost money. </done-defending-google>

Has the Instagram acquisition had any negatives for the consumer?

Yes, photos are no longer embedded in tweets.

Which means I don't see them anymore, which means I don't cringe at the filter abuse... Wait, actually, this HAS improved things for my particular tastes. :) But yeah, this is a pretty good example because the link between the acquisition and the damage to the product / end user is very obvious.


I'd say that's why they buy the companies...

You are not alone. I wonder how long it will be until Google+ is required to change the temperature in your house.

Yeah that's where the +1 button is.

Not precisely my thoughts, but the sentiment's the same. As someone who doesn't trust Google with my information it means Nest isn't a product I'd buy any longer.

If, on the other hand, you're a fan of the Google ecosystem I would expect that it will be a nice tie-in and a great acquisition for them. If they could add something along the lines of Belkin's WeMo devices and maybe Dropcam they could put together a nice home automation dashboard suite.

They're going to need to honor the legacy of Nest's design, though. No one is going to spend that kind of money and settle for an ad-ridden attempt to coerce you to use Google+.

yeah, the last thing I need is my Nest thermostat and my Nest smoke alarm sending data about my house to Google / NSA

from http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/13/google-just-bought-connecte...

Will Nest customer data be shared with Google?

Our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services. We’ve always taken privacy seriously and this will not change. ----- is it just me or is that a non denial?

is it just me or is that a non denial?

Is it ever. The new owners of Nest can just roll out updates to every Nest app that require an agreement to a new TOS. I expect to see it within 18 months.

Shame too, I was already on the fence about buying a Nest, I guess I've got a new microcontroler project to work on.

It's a dumb question. There is no such thing as "shared with Google" if Nest is wholly owned by Google. Nest data is Google data.

"Improving our products and services" is standard legalese for "to implement whatever new feature we want".

It just means that the privacy policy will be revised.

accept our TOS or prepare to freeze/burn up.

Their current policy doesn't permit them to share personal information with other entities or even "affiliates". They would probably need your consent to change this.

They could merge Nest Labs, Inc. into another Google company, letting the surviving company use the information. The press release does not disclose the acquisition structure but their statements suggest the company will survive as a separate entity.

I don't really see what they have access to privacy-wise that is any more intrusive than a smart-phone with a microphone and a GPS chip.

And if the NSA can target a huge company like Google, I bet Nest was child's play to infiltrate.

well, it's one thing to feel insecure knowing that people know where you are (cellphone/mic/GPS). But if you're attacked/ambushed/blackmailed/kidnapped, you can always fight for yourself, scream to attract attention, etc.

It's another thing to feel insecure knowing that people know when your home is unoccupied. Just wait until the next big data breach happens.

It's especially interesting b/c not only is this a "when are they not home" detector, but the "they" is an indicator for "wealthy enough to afford nice things."

Then we make products like the nest that sit in out houses with cameras in them, tie into facial recognition software and alert the police. Or, even better recognize that intruder is not on a white list and owners are not home and use automated home protection to disable them.

Those kinds of situations are the driving force of many thin a: warheads & bunkers and safes & crackers quickly come to mind.

If you actually care about the NSA and aren't just being glib, what's stopping them from collecting this data right now?

Is this about principle or you have actual privacy concerns about leaked thermostat / smoke alarm data? Maybe I am being unimaginative but I can't think of why I should care about the latter.

Nest thermostat can detect whether a home is occupied or not. I imagine this is the biggest cause for concern.

Same thing went through my mind when I discovered Google acquired Boston Dynamics.

I agree with "good for the Nest guys" but not "looked like a good product" and I don't mean that in a bad way, it may be a very well executed product but I cannot by any stretch of the imagination think why I would want my thermostat or smoke detector to be anything but stand-alone, dumb devices that do the one thing they were designed to do, and do it faultlessly.

Sadly, my exact thinking. I love my Nest. I do not love Google collecting statistical information from it. Which I am certain they will do, regardless of what they say to the contrary.

Damn, I really liked my Nest.

Well then, you're going to LOVE it once it's tied to your Google+ account! ;)

this made me laugh out loud.

Pretty much although the exact order was: 1) "holy crap that's a ton of money." 2) "well, good for the Nest guys." 3) "too bad, it looked like a good product." 4) "I wonder why Apple didn't buy them."

GOOG's MSFTian sprawl may be what ends up killing them. This would have been a great fit for Apple ages ago when they could have bought it for cheap, especially given the ex-Apple guys and the Store placement. I guess at these lofty prices they can build better from scratch.

So you are saying that Google bought the Nest guys, not the Nest product?

I'm saying that if you're near the top of the food chain at Nest, 2014 is probably going to be the start of many good years financially.

As for the product? Google's Reader product comes to mind.

I know everyone's still upset about Reader, but your post doesn't make any sense. Google didn't pay $3.2 billion dollars for a bunch of new employees.

They did not pay $3.2 billion for some employees, but for a company with a proven track record of creating great hardware. Why not let them develop more household hardware for the upcoming internet-of-things revolution (provided it does come), with Google on top?

Yes, it is doubtful that Google would up and kill a product they just paid $3.2B for.

But I'm human, and I was a heavy Reader user. That particular debacle -- along with the NSA revelations of last year -- have affected my perception of the company in a negative manner.

Really? $200 for a predictive thermostat, with a lame excuse to stream energy usage data and proximity data (Nest detects humans) out of your home? Id rather pay $99 to tell health insurance companies how often I exercise, live.

You could get the same benefit from a device for $30 of electronics. It's an overpriced gimmick to justify another selling off of your personal data forever in exchange for nothing but some minor convenience. The price doesn't justify the energy savings or by product manufacturing cost. If Google wants to know how much energy I'm using, they can buy the information from the utilities and subsidize my electric forever. I'm not paying to give it to them.

I could get the same benefit from a device for $30 of electronics, and however many hours of my free-time I decide to put into such a project.

Which would be a lot more than $250 lost, and not a trade I'd be willing to make considering I value my free time with the family a lot more than that.

For me this whole thing misses the point though. Saving money is a sort of minimum expectation. The thing that Nest delivers that the competitors don't is ease of use. The previous 3M and Honeywell thermostats I owned before were not cheap, but their displays were terrible and their UX was the stuff of nightmares.

It took me probably 10 minutes to setup the Nest by comparison and maintenance has been mostly hands-off. It'll tweak the schedule here and there as necessary.

THAT is the value proposition. To throw out the Indiglo monstrosities before it that were inevitably running on some awful schedule because they were too much trouble and came with 50 page instruction manuals in 5 different languages.

I don't have time for that.

So to me, that's why Nest is successful. It might also explain why their smoke detectors are meh to me. Having a nice UX for something I don't actually need to interface with beyond tapping the occasional "ignore" button just isn't very much of a motivation to spend $100.

> because they were too much trouble and came with 50 page instruction manuals in 5 different languages.

Just wondering - is there a problem with different languages?

Nothing. Just thought it captured the sentiment of obtuse manuals that manage to make what seems like a simple task overly complex.

Uh, good for you? That is not the value proposition, that is trivial information about your personal life. I don't know why you felt it necessary to try to duplicate a manufactured device by hand, but that is most certainly not the value proposition.

The value proposition is that $200 and letting Google extract value from your life by way of energy prices will somehow pay for the fractional energy saved when the device realizes that you work on weekdays.

I didn't duplicate anything. That was my rationale behind not doing what you suggested.

Honestly, I'm having a lot of trouble following what you're trying to say.

Now you're talking about unauthorized data use and Google manipulating energy prices? I guess?

Okay so, you're a troll. And one who doesn't understand what "value proposition" means.

I'm a troll because I pointed out how ridiculous his conceptualization of the price is? Ok, I am. With that kind of logic, you can justify spending $10,000,000 on a car because that's a fraction of the price of a manufacturing plant. That is not a "value proposition".

No. It's the opposite. You said I could duplicate the functionality for $30. I said that's only true if you believe the time you'd put into that exercise is worth less than $220.

I don't. But your circumstances may be different if you work for $1/day.

Does that mean you place no value on aesthetics or industrial design of a beautiful device? Don't get me wrong, I agree that it's overpriced, but I do at least place some value on a well-made device.

I'd pay a few dollars more, maybe. At the end of the day as long as it isn't garishly awful I don't particularly care.

For example, this one does everything I need and costs 10% of a nest: http://amzn.com/B002RL9BIM

It actually has a backlight which is a step up from what I have today. It's just not important to me. Definitely not $250 important.

I could definitely use a smarter thermostat, but my vision of the future is a wireless dumb thermostat paired to a home PC that is connected to other sensors. While those dumb devices could be made to interoperate with a cloud service (this is probably where Google is playing), I'd rather keep that control in-house (haha).

Wow. That is ugly.

Imagine you just, like me, bought your dream house. In the den you installed new hardware floors and custom builtin bookshelves, that you built yourself in a few hundred hours, using a gorgeous hardwood and a stain you picked after testing more than a dozen shades.

Which thermostat goes on the wall, about 15 inches from the bookselves. That POS or a Nest?

Honestly, I could be living in Bill Gates' house and I'd get the same thermostat. In fact, I'd be guaranteed to, since if I can afford that I can afford to squander some money on heating my home. I have one temperature that I'm comfortable at, and that's pretty much the end of the story. I think I've invested more time in this thread than I have interacting with my thermostat for the last year.

I don't care how it looks above some minimum bar, as long as it works, and works reliably.

(There's a caveat there - in a large home I assume you run into issues with uneven heating. But that's beyond the purview of a simple thermostat. Even a $250 one.)

Well, ok, now I disagree :) (because up to now, I was agreeing with everybody.)

It's not that ugly, but more important, it's white and not shiny. If I was looking for a thermostat for a completely decorated house, that's exactly the thing I'd look for (unless the walls were colored, in that case I'd get somebody to paint it). The one thing I wouldn't want people to look at in my house is the thermostat (and that's quite a thing for me to say, because my house has even decorative power outlets).

Somebody with a great sense of aestetics may be able to place a shinny thermostat in a way that it looks nice. That's not for 99% of us, and few people do hire the other 1% for helping them.

But, anyway, I'm here just for the fun, because I'm certainly not looking for a thermostat.

Can't tell if serious...

I don't like the aesthetics, no. From a engineering perspective, it is not much of an achievement of R&D, imo. They probably paid more for their Photoshoppers.

> You could get the same benefit from a device for $30 of electronics.

… in theory but there's no evidence that most people actually see those benefits:


I was going to say that you should start a company to produce that competitive $30 thermostat but then you confirmed that you have no idea what you're talking about:

> The price doesn't justify the energy savings or by product manufacturing cost

This might be true if you live in San Diego but in much of the country people pay many hundreds of dollars every month during the winter or summer. If a smarter thermostat saves 10% of that, it pays for itself in less than a year.

"but in much of the country people pay many hundreds of dollars every month during the winter or summer. If a smarter thermostat saves 10% of that"

Not mathematically / thermodynamically possible, sorry. I live in a cooler area but not the real cold areas up north. During the recent polar vortex, which momentarily was centered over my house (and I'm not kidding) we got down to -15. (70 - -15) = delta t of 85 degrees. Lets say the magic machine dropped the temp by 5 degrees during the entire event 24x7 to save me energy. Why I'd pay $300 to simply permanently turn a thermostat down and leave it down is a mystery, but stick with me. That would mean a theoretical delta T of a "mere" 80 degrees. That means a maximum theoretical energy savings of (1-80/85)100 = 5%. Not 10%. No, I'm not setting my thermostat back 24x7. No, I don't live in a cold area like the folks up north where it was -30, in fact right now its somewhat above freezing outside. I just don't see it mathematically.

True, the weather is not always that bad. Right now its about 35. So 70-35 = 35 degree delta T, and dropping 5 degrees temporarily when unoccupied could save as much as (1-30/35)100 = 14 % if the weather was like this all the time and my house was perma-unoccupied. However, out of 168 hours in a week, my house is unoccupied for 18 hours. The rest of the time is filled by work at home, strange overlapping shifts, etc. So my house can only set back 10% of the time, so I only get 10% of the theoretical maximum savings, or a whopping .... 1%.

Unfortunately my heating bills over a very long term only average maybe $100/month, which I'm sure sounds insane to coasties, but we like it, keeps the riff raff away. So I can save about $1/month or $12/year. At $300 retail, it'll pay for itself by 2039.

Even worse, most will be purchased using a 30% interest rate credit card, making payback time infinite. The 30% interest on the credit card to pay for the $300 thermostat would be $90/year but I'm only saving at best $12/year. Whoops.

I would come out ahead both in comfort and financially by purchasing a kerosene heater and $300 of kerosene. Or better yet, even more insulation, or newer windows or whatever.

The final killer problem is I intentionally don't live in a McMansion so I can have a better lifestyle, such as not shivering in the winter. I've already decided to own a 25% smaller house to save 25% on my heating bills, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in saving 10% on my bill by shivering. I'm not paying thousands of dollars a month to shiver in a house when I could be warm and toasty in a hundreds of dollars a month apartment. Nope not happening non-starter totally uninterested. Selling snow to eskimos. Nope.

The target audience of the Nest is someone who leaves their thermostat on the same temperature setting all the time, whose house is empty a significant portion of the time, and who doesn't have the knowledge or desire to buy a manually programmable thermostat. You don't sound like you are in that audience, but that doesn't mean the audience doesn't exist or that the product is foolish.

To give it the fairest possible test I will take your concerns to an optimistic extreme.

Given that I can set my thermostat back roughly part time, and most people work 40 hrs, and someone who can blow $300 on a thermostat probably works at least 60 hours, I will triple my theoretical savings to $36/year. Given a zero interest loan that would pay for itself in a "mere" nine years. Google products don't last nine years before being shut down but I will error on the side of optimism and assume this is an outlier. The problem is the 29.99% credit card to buy the $300 thermostat means it really costs $90/yr to buy one... and now we're saving $36/yr instead of $12, but its still an order of magnitude or so too little to run a profit before it requires replacement.

Still not seeing it.

The target audience is people who can't do math. Or like greenwashing. Or like showing off to other people that they can throw away $300 on a thermostat, or at least obtain a loan to do so. There's nothing particularly wrong with that as a market, either. I read an online article from three months ago that they were selling 40K/month and assuming they get a revenue of $100/unit (rest goes to retailer, warehouse, shipping, etc) thats a revenue of about $50M/yr which isn't bad. A 10% profit on revenue on electronics would be good, so lets say $5M profit per year. Well, I wouldn't pay about $4B today for $5M next year, but aside from that little issue...

I don't claim the product, in itself, is foolish at all. As a "hey look at how much money I have, err, had" $300 product, its probably a better long term investment than a $300 cellphone or a $300 computer video card or even a $300 giant TV. Some of the mathematical / economic rationalization is hilarious but that's orthogonal to the foolishness argument.

You act like products can only be purchased with a credit card. That is not in fact the case.

Actually no, I acted like at a zero percent interest rate / zero opportunity cost (which is a little weird) it would take about nine years, and at a typical 30% credit card for your average poor dude was infinity. Everyone will fit somewhere within those bounds.

A reasonable opportunity cost might be 3%, I'm too lazy to bother figuring the time till profit because nine years at zero is already too long.

A few things. First, it costs 250, not 300. Second, an alternative would be much cheaper, but it is non zero. Third, it provides other benefits than just potentially saving money such as a great user interface and apps with which to control it remotely.

So say an alternative is 30, the cost is 220, not 300. That takes several years off your calculation. Then having the benefit of an improved interface is non zero. Even if it takes a long time to pay back I plan on living in my house for a long time, and I liked nice things.

Now if you want to argue about overpriced absurd things, go with their $130 smoke detector or whatever it is. No thanks.

IMO, Nest appeals to the people for whom it does the least amount of good: engineers.

Engineers and technical people tend to analyze things like their energy bill already. They also tend to love gadgets.

A couple of parts of Nest that aren't usually factored in are the convenience factor of using your favorite device to control the thermostat remotely and the cost of your current programmable thermostat. If new home owners choose Nest instead of another thermostat they only have to save $150 to make it worth it. And they can factor in convenience.

Another words, it's not a crazy idea to pay a little extra for one these especially if you haven't already been analyzing your energy usage.

Their marketing message is definitely not aimed at engineers:

"Programming thermostats is complicated and irritating - but an un-programmed thermostat can waste 20% of your heating and cooling bill. So the Nest Thermostat programs itself."

I hate to reply to a reply, but if you'd like an example of saving 10% energy in a really cold area where bills are really high, lets take my sister, a 40hr a week worker where it got down to -30 during the recent cold snap. Now 70 - -30 = 100 degree delta T. Now the simple way to save 10% would be to permanently set the thermostat to 60F. But thats a bit chilly.

So she works 40 hrs a week which works out to 25% of the time. So we can just turn the thermostat down 4 times as far for a quarter the time. So... She leaves for work and the thermostat drops to 70-40=30. Which is unfortunately below freezing so all her plumbing pipes burst. But at least she saved 10% on her heating. Also she owns an indoor cat and at 30F she'd turn into a frozen cat-sicle.

So she pays $300 for a thermostat that can't save her 10% on her bill unless she destroys all her plumbing flooding her house and killing her cat. I'm not seeing this as a great selling point.

So, no, cold parts of the country are precisely the locations where you can't achieve great heating savings because its mathematically impossible because its so cold outside. Maybe a 20000 sq foot mcmansion on the coast in florida, it might work there. But not where its cold.

Just to say it again, extreme cold is where a thermostat is of little help.

But imagine that there are 4 or 5 months a year where the outdoor temperature is 15 or 20 degrees colder than a comfortable indoor temperature. And imagine turning down the thermostat during the night in those periods, not just during unoccupied times.

(I realize that more energy is used during cold periods, but some huge portion of the country lives in areas that rarely see 20 for the several months they are below 60).

Lowering the thermostat during warm weather saves a larger portion of the energy for that period.

The polar vortex scenario is where a thermostat can help the least.

For instance, imagine a home that heats from 50 most of the time. Then it is (1-15/20)/100=25%.

The problem is that at 50 my furnace runs like 3 times a day because the house is built to be comfy down to -30, probably much worse (since it did OK at -20 last week). So you end up saving 25% of very little.

This mathematical model would work for a poorly insulated house in an area that never gets cold. So if in Atlanta the furnace is struggling at 50F outside, then this would mathematically work out. The problem of course is total annual heating bills in Atlanta probably aren't very impressive, so saving even 10% on them still wouldn't amount to much.

Yeah, obviously the specifics matter.

The broader point is that the average heating season temperature at the location is more interesting than the coldest temperature experienced during a given decade.

That still ends up being something like (1-8/50)/100 for a lot of people, so an easy opportunity for 15% during away times (and 70->62 isn't an absurd night setting...).

It sounds like what you really mean is that this is not a product which you benefit from, because you work from home and your house is actually continuously inhabited most days; it's an amusing combination of arrogance and naivety to assume that your lifestyle is the only valid option.

Beyond that, you're completely missing the point about a smarter thermostat: the savings don't come from the temperature outside is -15° and your heater is running almost constantly. You have to deal with that by adding insulation or living in a colder house. Where many people can save money is waste: when the heating or cooling would have run without benefit – e.g. it's 40° outside and you're paying to keep it over 65° but it'd really be perfectly fine if it drifted down to 50° for the 8+ hours in the middle of the day when everyone's at work. A serious miser will religiously turn it off before they walk out the door but most people won't. Many people even leave the thermostat set at a comfortable temperature because they dislike coming home to a very cold/hot house.

Those people are the ones who will benefit the most from something programmable but unfortunately most of the devices on the market have horrible UIs and none of the $30 ones will do things like detect when you aren't home, which is significant for people who don't have rigidly predictable schedules. Again, it doesn't have to be a game-theoretical optimum – only better than what most people are doing now.

> Unfortunately my heating bills over a very long term only average maybe $100/month, which I'm sure sounds insane to coasties

Head to New England and your new neighbors will complement you on your frugality, as most people have heating bills 4-8 times that high in the winter. Toss in, say, a spike in heating oil costs and anything which reduces inefficiency starts to look pretty cheap. Hint: none of them had McMansions, either – it's just cold during the winter in Connecticut.

> So I can save about $1/month or $12/year. At $300 retail, it'll pay for itself by 2039. Even worse, most will be purchased using a 30% interest rate credit card, making payback time infinite. The 30% interest on the credit card to pay for the $300 thermostat would be $90/year but I'm only saving at best $12/year. Whoops.

When you need to make up numbers so the math makes your argument seem less arbitrary it's time to accept that other people are allowed to make decisions in life without your approval. You're overstating the purchase price by nearly 25% and assuming the worst possible purchase method – and you're doing that for an amount which the average American household spends on cable tv / internet / smartphones every couple of months.

> The final killer problem is I intentionally don't live in a McMansion so I can have a better lifestyle, such as not shivering in the winter. I've already decided to own a 25% smaller house to save 25% on my heating bills, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in saving 10% on my bill by shivering. I'm not paying thousands of dollars a month to shiver in a house when I could be warm and toasty in a hundreds of dollars a month apartment. Nope not happening non-starter totally uninterested. Selling snow to eskimos. Nope.

You do seem to need a lot of external validation for your decisions. Hopefully the smug feelings will keep you warm.

So we've got:

1) doubling is the same as an order of magnitude (or more), ah math who cares.

2) it costs the same amount to heat a house to a given temp no matter the outdoor temp (for a house built to be comfortable down to -30, heating at 40 costs almost nothing)

3) The public is stupid, far too dumb to program something, so lets prey on them with something real expensive that tries to avoid that.

4) average and peak are the same. Pick whichever advances an argument more.

5) Its OK to rip people off as long as you don't rip them off for more money than other people do.

6) I do admit you are 100% correct on the price. And given the mighty power of Google and expansion and wider availability of capital not only are you correct that the price has slightly dropped, but I suggest going further and in the long run it could drop to $100 or so, maybe lower. Fundamentally, from an electronic standpoint, the inevitable Chinese clones will probably only be $75 or so. See also #1 above, 25%, order of magnitude, who's counting.

7) Paraphrase to something like I don't like the results of your math equations, so I'll call you smug instead. Come on, you can do better than that. If we're going to go all playground here, "Your mom" me or something.

Oddly enough you haven't convinced me you're correct and I'm wrong.

I selected the points which were well defined enough to respond to:

> 2) it costs the same amount to heat a house to a given temp no matter the outdoor temp (for a house built to be comfortable down to -30, heating at 40 costs almost nothing)

This is not about how much it costs to heat a house to a given temperature. It's about how often heating or cooling is used when the occupants don't need it.

> 3) The public is stupid, far too dumb to program something, so lets prey on them with something real expensive that tries to avoid that.

The only thing I said on this is that most programmable thermostats have bad UI and I'd extend that bad UI to note that they also tend to assume a rigid schedule. It came as no surprise to me when I read the government studies concluding that programmable thermostats: the Honeywell which my Nest replaced allowed you to set two temperatures per day and there was no way to adjust for changes in your schedule without clicking through the entire schedule — 3 (hour, minute, AM/PM) pairs with two high/low temperature thresholds for 7 days or almost 40 clicks on low-quality buttons which would have shamed a $2 calculator. If you knew you were going to be out late one evening, do you spend 15 minutes clicking through that UX disaster or just say “Meh, we'll heat the house for a couple extra hours”? Maybe you plan to go out for a couple hours mid-day? There's no way to express that short of turning the entire thing off, which is fine part of the year and annoying during the rest when it means you'll come home to a very hot/cold house because there's no way to say “Keep the house over 50° (or under 80°) for the next few hours”.

That's not saying that the public is stupid, it's saying that there's been a market failure in producing decent thermostats. It'd be great if there were options between the Nest and the junk $30 thermostats for people who wanted more intelligence (or just the silly auto-away sensor) but don't mind, say, cheap plastic fittings or losing some of the more processor-intensive features.

> 5) Its OK to rip people off as long as you don't rip them off for more money than other people do.

You're arguing against something which I didn't write.

> 7) Paraphrase to something like I don't like the results of your math equations, so I'll call you smug instead. Come on, you can do better than that. If we're going to go all playground here, "Your mom" me or something.

Your entire argument has been that if people lived exactly the same way as you do and made the same decisions which you've made it's wrong for them to want a Nest. That's smug because it assumes that there are no other valid positions. Using terms like “ripped off” implies a moral judgement rather than, say, people making decisions based on different circumstances. Similarly, assuming that people will finance everything on a bad credit card is implicitly stating that most people who are not you make bad personal financial decisions — that's both insulting and irrelevant to the issue at hand.

Realistically Nest is a luxury product and the rest is just rationalization. But luxury gadgets is a legitimate market.

Yes, but Apple's market not Google's...

I don't think this is strictly true. I believe rich and poor use Google search. Perhaps iOS and Android have different markets, but this acquisition will bring former iOS guys into the Google realm.

An interesting question is whether Google will keep it a luxury product.

This is exactly what I was thinking. They will use their resources to make it cheaper, mass manufacture them, and start selling them to next to nothing just to get the data. More power to 'em.

The price makes me choke as well. But I think Nest's real value is as a market distruptor, the evidence being Honeywell's lawsuit and furious attempts to update their own products with comparable features.

Everyone who's complaining about how much Nests costs have obviously not graduated from college tastes into the world of interior decorating. There is a huge market for nice looking stuff to go in your house. Not everyone buys Ikea for their whole lives. Maybe they host parties, run in upper middle class social circles, etc.

There's $10K kitchen ranges out there, $50 beer mugs. etc. Design can carry premiums in this market, and Nest is trying to be the best looking thermostat in the industry. It doesn't matter if you can hack one for $40. It's a wealthy couple who doesn't hack who just want nice stuff in their house that works. And if you think that's weird, just recognize it's your taste, not reality. Why does West Elm exist if there's Ikea.

Agreed. That's where it feels dissonant to me: Google addresses mega-mass markets rather than luxury, to the point it degrades their products. Look at email: Yahoo! has practically delivered "Gmail without the inconveniences"...

$200 is simply a terrible price fit. The rich buy $10k+ systems, the poor buy $20 units at Home Depot. There is no middle class in america, only credit.

> There is no middle class in America

... said someone in a forum occupied mostly by middle class people from America.

American software engineers are absolutely not middle class:

Median household income, 2008-2012 $53,046


If we're talking globally, software engineers are even further to the right end.

1. "Middle class" does not mean "median income".

2. The relevant meaning for this particular discussion is "in a position to spend $200 on a thermostat but not willing to spend thousands". That seems like pretty much exactly the bracket a lot of US software people would be in.

(There is a phenomenon in US politics where people earning $300k/year think they are "middle class" and I agree that that's silly. But software developers on ~$100k? Middle class. No question.)

That's a nice talking point for politicians, but it's not true. There is plenty of middle class in America.

Nest isn't disruptive: they don't offer an inferior product for a lower price.


They have the classic business model of a better product for a higher price. If the thermostat market had consisted entirely of Nest and then Honeywell introduced cheap, crappy thermostats, that'd be disruption.

Well, Google might very well change the price point.

I really agree with the premise of that article, with one major exception: when the real price is your attention. Internal combustion engines, iOS, can legitimately be seen as disruption: they were more expensive than their equivalent, but thosed need so much effort… Nest might be the same for domotic.

You're certainly right that they kicked Honeywell in the rear. After years of making the same damned device, they finally released an actually nice thermostat. In fact, I was recently in the market for a new thermostat which I could control on my drive home, or from bed, or whatever. After researching thoroughly, and I opted for Honeywell's latest touchscreen device (over the Nest v2 which has apparently been having a lot of problems).

I must say it's actually quite nice to use. I can put it in a mode where it does precisely what I want. Hold a temperature until told otherwise, and let me choose that temperature from my desktop or iPhone from anywhere.

Such a mode so simple that the Nest refuses to allow it.

You're misinformed.

Nest can hold a set temperature like any other thermostat. It'll do so better than any other thermostat, in fact, by learning the efficiency of your heater and A/C so that it doesn't overshoot your targets, and takes into account whether the thermostat is in direct sunlight part of the day, and airflow in your house.

It can also be told to hold a temperature forever, to hold a threshold forever (cool if it gets above 75, heat if it gets below 60), you can set a detailed schedule manually, you can tell it to hold a temperature until a certain time, or you can tell it to just kick on the fan for the next X minutes without changing the temperature then turn back off.

Turning on/off auto-schedule is one click if you want that feature, like all its other learning features. I've never run into any kind of bug with mine. You can change the temperature it's holding at from your iPhone or desktop from anywhere, along with all its other settings.



> You're misinformed.

Indeed. From this review:


> And the Nest doesn't have a Hold Temperature option, which is a feature even a $25 thermostat has. The final Nest deal-breaker for me is the +-3 degree temperature swing. If you set it to 72, it will keep the temperature between 69 and 75, a total of 6 degree swing, which sucks compared to the +-1 degree swing of the Honeywell.

That's a shame. He probably misled quite a few people into buying the Honeywell by being the top review. He admittedly never owned a Nest, and that's obvious in his comparison, as not a single point in it is accurate; one must wonder where he came up with them having no first-hand experience.

* If Nest isn't on a schedule (whether it's a manually set schedule or the "auto-schedule"), it's holding temp. Like every other thermostat.

* It is more sensitive than the Honeywell, not less; it kicks on at +1 degrees on AC mode, but -0.7 degrees on heat. If you really want, you can set fractional target temperatures too.

* He thinks Nest shows nothing on its display but the temperature, when it's actually a fully interactive computer. All the settings can be changed at the wall, not just using the app/website.

At least the number of Amazon reviews suggests Nest is outselling all the Honeywell wifi panels over 20:1 anyway.

> That's a shame.

Who knows? Maybe it was written by a Honeywell shill. Worked on me apparently.

I will note one other difference which helped sway me to Honeywell is the fact that the Nest requires a battery, while the Honeywell requires "bus" power. I actually didn't have a "C wire" set up before I installed mine, but it was trivial to climb into the attic and re-purpose the fan control wire to instead provide constant (24VAC) power.

Granted, changing thermostat batteries wasn't really at the top of my pet peeve list, but I did read that the Nest has the potential to suck batteries dry too quickly. Any opinion on battery life?

Nest uses your HVAC's power wire like other thermostats. There are no batteries to replace.

It has a permanent internal battery, charged by the power wire, which allows it to stay active in a power failure and to use more power than some systems provide when you're interacting with its screen. So there's no real difference between the Nest and the Honeywell in terms of power or installation except that the Nest has a built-in rechargeable li-ion backup battery.

Here's how mine's wired, courtesy the mobile app again: http://i.imgur.com/Rls9EZk.png

Nest does have an internal battery than can be charge via a USB port if you ever need to. I bought my Nest used off Craigslist (substantial savings) and have never had any low battery issues. It's bus powered, but the battery smooths over power disruptions.

Using all sorts of fancy technology licensed from Honeywell.

Honeywell has not licensed any technology to Nest.

There's nothing really fancy about a thermometer, humidity sensor, IR motion sensor and a bit of software anyway. Which is why Nest had no trouble identifying prior art to each of the patents Honeywell tried to assert (and made no offer to license). They carved their niche by being the only company that cared to make the most of some simple inputs and packaged them up in a way that looked different from the rest of the market. It's somewhat similar to the iPod/iPhone story.

The price that Nest charged for this as an independent company trying to make a profit may be very different from the price Google charges for it.

I made the money back heating my house in the bay area in 5 months. The Nest is just much better at using energy efficiently.

That's a savings of $60 on heating per month, for five months. The laws of thermodynamics continue to be enforced regardless of bubble or not, so I think it quite impossible to save more than 10%. So you're averaging $600 or more to heat. Averaging...

I live in Wisconsin where I would be hard pressed to spend $300/month during the worst imaginable weather (and this is five months... the worst imaginable weather is .. January. Three months earlier or later isn't too bad, back to $100/mo or less). With the recent polar vortex event settled right over my house, maybe this will be a $400 month for me... maybe not.

I assume by "bay area" and spending $600/mo on heating you mean Prudhoe Bay on the north slope of Alaska?

They have a widget on the Nest store (https://widgets.nest.com/en/calculator/widget) that estimates energy savings. According to that, a $250/year savings is possible in SF with electric heating and a house over 2000 square feet. Though, the range they provide probably means:

a) It is a historically cold year for a prolonged period of time

b) You set your heat to 80F all the time

With gas heating, it looks almost impossible to save $250... unless you're heating an NBA arena.

In the Bay Area, electricity is priced in tiers, so depending on your usage you can spend 50% of your bill on 10% of the electricity.


You can get a Nest thermostat for $150 if you get a rebate.

You are paranoid. That data isn't worth anything, certainly not billions of dollars.

Given Google's history with acquisitions, as a Nest owner, I'm not thrilled to hear this. Hopefully they let it run as independently as possible.

On the other hand, Android, Inc. was an acquisition with a similar purpose–to break into a new product space–and it grew into a fully-supported division. I don't think Google will treat this as an acquihire situation.

I wonder what their play is. One neat thing about Nest is that they are doing what many products failed to do before, and that's to kind of become a platform for the "internet of things." It's a thermostat and smoke detector now, but it could easily soon become more stuff, sensors and actuators, and it could easily all work together toward enabling a smarter home. Yes if you are a hardware/microcontroller geek you can get the same functionality for $100 but you will spend 100 hours on it and it will look vastly inferior to the Nest designs. It is also amazing how much more successful it could be than the million crappy little X10 and zigbee gadgets with their 1960s UX.

Another amazing thing to me is how well and how fast they managed to build prominent industry relationships: you can get rebates from the electric company, they are on Home Depot and Lowes shelves, advertised on NPR, etc.

Perhaps we'll see a return of Google Power Meter. That was an ambitious project to promote a data standard, towards the goal of better efficiency through consumers' close monitoring of their own power usage. But it failed to gain traction in the industry and Google did not double down. Until now. It seems they may now think that it is better to make transparent decisions automatically rather than by providing information for the consumer to take action on themselves. Power consumption is a large opportunity and one that Google understands from its data centre operations. Certainly it is hard to justify the cost of Nest on its current portfolio and acqui-hire alone.

>>what many products failed to do before, and that's to kind of become a platform for the "internet of things."

I am not sure. They might be famous. But there is nothing like 'other products failed'. Just because 'other products' inventors don't blog and submit it on HN/Reddit every two hours, it doesn't mean they failed.

Internet of things is there since a long time, You won't hear about them in your regular internet forum discussions. But there are billions! of small embedded devices communicating over networking/internet and were communicated before Nest was even born.

They will have them make the robots produced by the other 7 companies they just bought look pretty and operate simply. At least, that's my hope. Nest team + hardcore robotics teams = potentially awesome stuff.

Sure, but do you think the probable future lifespan of a Nest v1 has gotten better or worse after this acquisition?

Google always shuts stuff down. Which is just a big laugh when its an internet application, but not so funny when its your thermostat. Anyone know what happens when GOOG shuts off the Nest system? Hopefully the thermostat reverts to at least a simple dumb mode rather than shutting everything off?

I doubt Google would shut down a $3,200,000,000.00 acquisition.

Please don't include decimals on that kind of number, it's intellectually dishonest.

Perhaps you should step away from your PC for a bit? Christ.

Arguing that somebody shouldn't expand a large number because you personally now perceive this number differently and therefore it is intellectually dishonest is a bit of a squirrely argument, don't you think?

We're all capable thinking humans here. That isn't to say that smart people cannot be swayed with rhetoric and such, but don't you think that the same argument you're making here could be made against compressing such large numbers? Maybe expanding that number isn't so much exaggerating its value as it is simply impressing upon us its true enormity.

$3.2B ($3,200,000,000.00) is a lot of fucking money, after all. For anybody.

$3.2M would be a truckload of money too, but on a Google scale, "This number is really enormous!" is a weak argument. $3.2B is less than 1% of their market cap. Relative terms are much more important than "how many zeros"; why, just recently, Google took a $150M loss in Q3'2012 on the Motorola division. They aren't afraid of 9-figure losses. Thus (IMO) $3.2B being a large number has little bearing on whether or not Google would be willing to take a writedown on Nest, for the right reasons.

? Only if you're incapable of telling the difference between commas and periods, I suppose.

It isn't factually dishonest, because it is an accurate number, and anyone can make sense of it.

I say it is intellectually dishonest because it reads to me as a clear attempt to make the number appear more impressive.

Borrowing from Wikipedia, "intellectual honesty":

   Facts are presented in an unbiased manner, and not twisted to give misleading impressions
It would still be accurate to say it was a $3,200,000,000.000,000,000,000 valuation, but I hope you will agree this is misrepresenting information.

Eh, guess we're going to agree to disagree there. Dollar figures having two decimal places at the end is pretty much a standard. If they included 3, yeah, that would reek of shiftiness. On top of that, all of the press releases I see don't even include the full amount written out, just "$3.2B".

This is known as "rhetoric". The art of making a point. For sure the zeroes are being written out in full to make the number look more impressive. And the cents are given for exactly the same reason! What else would they be there for?! Writing out large numbers in full is a valid tactic to make a point, just as is hiding all those zeroes away behind an abbreviation.

Nobody puts commas in the decimal places.

You might as well say that he shouldn't put any zeros there at all, because all those zeros make it more impressive than saying "3.2 billion".

decimals doesn't have commas, if you want to add 12 digits of precision then you should have to write: $3,200,000,000.000000000000 , also when writing down a money amount, those two extra digits are for the cents(exactly 2 digits of precision), It would be ultra weird to write with 1 or 3 digits of precision, or zero for that matter.

Maybe he thinks "3.2bn" is less impressive than the actual number, and is just righting a wrong. That would be a reasonable thing to believe.

You do know that many locales invert the meaning of the comma and period in that scenario, right?


I think it's pretty damn obvious what was meant by $3,200,000,000.00 no matter what locale you are in.

> ? Only if you're incapable of telling the difference between commas and periods, I suppose.

There's a reason people don't use Prolog...

It may be incorrect too, since the source only had 2 significant figures.

That's a 12 digit acquisition!

I'm not worried about a shutdown as much as I am worried about it going into maintenance mode like Google Voice.

That is a legitimate concern, however, the press release says this: "Nest will continue to operate under the leadership of Tony Fadell and with its own distinct brand identity."

For now.

I think about the Flip Video -- a reasonably-priced, small video recorder that could capture up to 2 hours of HD video. It was purchased by Cisco in 2009, and the product line was killed 23 months later. This was before a large number of consumers had quality smartphone cameras.

Google had a good reason to drop $3.2B on Nest. Providing useful products that consumers love is not it.

>While the Nest Thermostat doesn't require a Wi-Fi connection, additional features like remote control and automatic software updates are only available when the Nest Thermostat connects to the Internet

Is that a joke? Firmware update on a Thermostat?

Um, have you seen the thermostat in question? It has a user interface on it. Why wouldn't it support software updates?

Should be pretty easy to keep a large amount of the functionality online, the one thing that definitely wouldn't work is remote access through nest.com. Just controlling the HVAC system doesn't _require_ any web access, easy test to see what the impact of a hard shutdown by Google is to just disconnect your wireless router from the Internet.

Disconnect it from your network before they 'update' it.

This is more YouTube pricing so I don't see a problem with them keeping this running.

Can't wait to need a Google+ account to change the temperature in my house.


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